- The committee responsible for determining whether to impeach New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for sexual harassment expects to be finished reviewing evidence within weeks, said committee chair Charles Lavine.
- Based on the evidence, the committee will then recommend whether or not to proceed with impeachment, a process many in Albany see as inevitable.
- If Cuomo chooses to resign before then, as Lavine and others have called on him to do, the governor would be spared the ordeal of a trial.
The committee responsible for determining whether to impeach New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo expects to be finished reviewing evidence within weeks, the committee chair said Monday.
"Beginning next week, committee members will be granted access in a secure location to the full evidence" in two parallel probes into allegations that Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, said Charles Lavine, the Democratic chairman of the state Assembly Judiciary Committee.
"We anticipate that this process will be concluded very soon," Lavine said of the review period. "When I say 'very soon,' I'm speaking about several weeks."
Following the review period, committee members will make a recommendation to the full state Assembly on whether to proceed with an impeachment.
Already, there are strong indications the committee will recommend Cuomo be impeached.
If Cuomo is impeached by the lower chamber, he would next face a trial in the state Senate. He would also be required to transfer gubernatorial powers for the duration of the Senate trial to Lieutenant Gov. Kathy Hochul.
The committee launched its impeachment investigation in March, following initial accusations of sexual harassment made against Cuomo. The probe was conducted parallel to an investigation overseen by state Attorney General Letitia James.
Last Tuesday, James said her office's inquiry found that Cuomo had sexually harassed at least 11 women and retaliated against one of them, a former employee who had complained about his conduct.
The response to the James report was swift and unequivocal: Within hours, demands for Cuomo's resignation came from across the state and national Democratic political firmament, up to and including President Joe Biden.
But Cuomo so far has shown no signs that he plans to step down.
Lavine took care on Monday to lay out each step of the impeachment process, describing what would doubtless be a difficult and potentially humiliating experience for Cuomo.
The committee chairman also made it clear that if Cuomo chooses to resign before an impeachment trial begins, he would be spared the ordeal of the trial.
If the governor resigns, an "impeachment itself would be moot," said Lavine.
The committee's monthslong probe was conducted by attorneys from the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, and encompassed several other allegations of wrongdoing by Cuomo and his closest aides.
These include whether the governor's staff tried to hide or alter data on coronavirus deaths in New York nursing homes; whether Cuomo used his position as governor to secure Covid vaccines for close friends and family; and whether he misused state resources to promote a book he wrote about leadership in 2020.
Cuomo and his staff have denied these allegations.
Last week, lawyers for the governor released a formal response to James' report, refuting certain elements of it. They argued that the claims by women that Cuomo inappropriately grabbed them and touched them were merely innocent efforts to be friendly, and something all politicians do.
The evidence from the multiple subjects of inquiry that will be made available to Judiciary Committee members totals more than 500,000 pages, Lavine said Monday.
Given the sensitivity of the information, Lavine said it would only be available for viewing in a designated room.