New York state lawmakers will begin an impeachment inquiry against Governor Andrew Cuomo amid a pair of burgeoning scandals.
State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat from the Bronx, announced on Thursday that the body’s judiciary committee would take up the inquiry. The committee will have subpoena powers and the ability to interview witnesses while it considers potential articles of impeachment.
The inquiry will cover both scandals that have hobbled the Cuomo administration in recent months. These include the administration’s misrepresentation of the number of coronavirus victims in state nursing homes, as well as accusations that the governor sexually harassed multiple women.
“The reports of accusations concerning the governor are serious,” Heastie said in a statement after a three-hour emergency meeting with lawmakers. Heastie has indicated that he will not proceed to an impeachment trial without the backing of a majority of Democrats in the state Assembly.
So 59 Democratic lawmakers signed on to the statement.
That's 19 of 43 Ds in the State Senate, not including Stewart-Cousins.
And 40 of 106 Ds in the Assembly.
— Luis Ferré-Sadurní (@luisferre) March 11, 2021
Democrats hold 106 out of 150 seats in the chamber. A group of 40 Assembly Democrats signed a statement on Thursday calling on Cuomo to resign, along with 19 out of 43 Democratic state senators. They were joined by New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, who called Cuomo’s alleged behavior “disgusting” and said he could no longer serve as governor.
“In light of the governor’s admission of inappropriate behavior and the findings of altered data on nursing home Covid-19 deaths he has lost the confidence of the public and the State Legislature, rendering him ineffective in this time of most urgent need,” the statement reads.
The latest allegation of sexual harassment against Cuomo may rise “to the level of a crime,” Albany police said on Thursday. An unnamed staffer has alleged that Cuomo groped her under her blouse at the Executive Mansion last year, a source with knowledge of the matter told the Albany Times Union.