The impeachment investigation into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is officially underway, though the state Assembly Judiciary Committee said it could potentially be a lengthy process that takes months.
This week, the Judiciary Committee officially began its probe into Cuomo, who is facing sexual harassment claims from at least eight women by questioning the legal team tasked with investigating the governor.
Officials said that the investigation into Cuomo will be broad in scope, with the Committee probing the sexual harassment claims, his administration's handling of COVID-19 deaths in state nursing homes, and alleged structural concerns about the new Tappan Zee Bridge that recent arose.
The Assembly's investigation will run concurrently with the probe that was launched by New York Attorney General Letitia James earlier this year into the sexual harassment claims.
Legislators said that the Assembly’s investigation could take months, with their lawyers expected to provide weekly updates to the public. If the Committee votes to impeach Cuomo, he will be ousted from office and the case would move on to the Senate.
On Tuesday, March 23, the legal team from David Polk & Wardwell LLP that is investigating Cuomo was grilled by Assemblymembers and lawyers representing some of Cuomo’s accusers as they determined whether there were any conflicts of interest or other points of concern about their appointment.
“The question may come up about timeline," Assembly Judiciary Chair Charles Lavine said. "At this early stage, it's not possible to say precisely how long the investigation will take.
“Given the breadth and seriousness of the issues under investigation, we expect that the timing will be in terms of months, rather than weeks.”
Lavine noted that there is little precedent for impeachment in New York, which could draw out the process even further.
"We are mindful of the due process necessary to ensure the fairness of this process to everyone, the victims, the witnesses, and the governor,” he said. “And to do so in a transparent manner, so that all New Yorkers are informed.”
While many lawmakers are calling for Cuomo to resign amid the controversy, Assemblymember Chrystal Peoples-Stokes said that it shouldn't become a political issue, and that the investigation should play out before any definitive action is taken in Albany.
“You are innocent until proven guilty," she said. "I believe these women should be heard, and I think there are processes in place already to provide them that opportunity and to provide the governor the opportunity to defend (him)self."
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