The top Democrat in the New York State Assembly committee conducting the impeachment investigation against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Thursday that the investigation is "nearing completion" and that the Assembly will soon take action to impeach the governor.
New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Lavine (D) said in a statement that the law firm hired by the committee to conduct its impeachment probe has told the governor's legal team to prepare to turn over materials for Cuomo's defense.
"We write to inform you that the Committee's investigation is nearing completion and the Assembly will soon consider potential articles of impeachment against your client," the lawyers wrote to Cuomo's counsel. "Accordingly, we invite you to provide any additional evidence or written submissions that you would like the Committee to consider before its work concludes."
"To the extent that you wish to share any such materials with the Committee, please do so by no later than 5:00 pm on August 13, 2021," they advised.
Lavine announced that the Judiciary Committee will meet Monday at the state Capitol in Albany to consider its next steps.
"Counsel for the Committee have previously requested that the Governor produce relevant documents in his possession. A subpoena was subsequently issued for such material. The Committee continues to expect full compliance from the Governor," Lavine said.
These actions by the Judiciary Committee are the clearest indication yet that Democrats in the state legislature will, in fact, move to impeach the third-term governor following a bombshell report from state Attorney General Letitia James that alleges Cuomo violated federal and state law by sexually harassing at least 11 women.
Cuomo has been defiant in the face of calls to resign from nearly every prominent Democrat in New York state and President Joe Biden. He has denied all wrongdoing and accused those calling for his resignation of being political opportunists.
State lawmakers opened the impeachment probe against Cuomo in March after several of Cuomo's accusers went public with details of the alleged harassment they experienced. The probe is also considering whether the Cuomo administration covered up nursing home deaths related to COVID-19, whether he used state resources to write a book about his leadership during the pandemic, and whether the government covered up potential structural problems on the Gov. Mario M Cuomo bridge.
According to the Associated Press, at least 86 of the 150 members of the state Assembly have said they want to impeach Cuomo and remove him from office should he refuse to resign, 10 more than is necessary to pass articles of impeachment.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said Wednesday that the governor "has lost the confidence of the Assembly Democratic majority and that he can no longer remain in office."
The Assembly can vote to impeach Cuomo with a simple majority vote. He would then be tried in the state Senate, where Democrats also hold a majority, and if convicted he would be removed from office and possibly barred from ever holding statewide political office in New York again. If he is removed or resigns, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will become governor.