ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN/WROC) — The committee of lawmakers tasked with investigating whether there are grounds to impeach Gov. Andrew Cuomo are meeting with lawyers to discuss the next steps.
With no indications the governor will resign in wake of the investigation, the potential for impeachment is looming. Cuomo’s legal team has until Friday to submit additional evidence in his defense to lawmakers in the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
Before breaking for a closed-door session Monday, Assembly Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Lavine commended Attorney General Letitia James on her work investigating sexual harassment claims against Governor Cuomo, and her agreement to turn over relevant materials for the committee to consider.
“The findings,” Lavine said, “the content of the report, are deeply disturbing.”
Lavine said the panel of assembly members eventually will openly discuss the investigation’s evidence, but that for now, that information won’t be made public.
“That confidentiality is critical to protect the witnesses coming forward from retaliation of any sort,” Lavine said.
Along with allegations of sexual harassment, the committee’s months-long investigation includes claims that the Governor used state resources for his $5 million book deal, misled the public about COVID-19 in nursing homes, and whether the governor unlawfully used his office to provide his family members with special access to scarce coronavirus tests.
“And if doing it right means another week or two, then so be it,” says Assemblymember Marjorie Byrnes, R-133.
Byrnes says this investigation into Governor Cuomo goes beyond sexual harassment claims and the Attorney General’s findings– they’re getting into COVID nursing home deaths and any wrong-doing with the Governor’s pandemic book deal.
“So we’re coming into this with a fresh face on all of the issues,” she says.
Byrnes says this is one of the most consequential issues that has ever come in front of our State. The most important thing she says is to make sure everyone feels this was done correctly based on the evidence.
“This probably is the biggest decision that I’m going to be afforded the opportunity to make in my life,” says Byrnes.
Byrnes says to remember the implications here are huge. Time is needed to do this investigation justice.
“Potentially, we could remove the governor of the State, that’s major,” she says.
Byrnes says the Assembly Judiciary Committee will be meeting again on August 16th and the 23rd.