New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D) has announced that an impeachment investigation into outgoing Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be suspended later this month.
"After consulting with Chair [Charles] Lavine and my majority colleagues, the Assembly will suspend its impeachment investigation upon the governor's resignation taking effect on August 25," Heastie said in a statement.
"There are two reasons for this decision. First, the purpose of the Assembly Judiciary Committee's impeachment investigation was to determine whether Governor Cuomo should remain in office. The governor's resignation answers that directive. Second, we have been advised by Chair Lavine — with the assistance of counsel — of the belief that the constitution does not authorize the legislature to impeach and remove an elected official who is no longer in office," the statement noted.
Cuomo faced a barrage of calls to resign from members of his own party after the release of a report last week that concluded he had sexually harassed multiple women. He announced on Tuesday that he would resign and that his resignation would be effective in 14 days.
When Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul replaces Cuomo as governor she will become the first woman ever to serve as governor of the Empire State. During an interview Thursday, Hochul said that she plans to run next year in the state's gubernatorial election contest.
"The independent investigation has concluded that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and in doing so violated federal and state law," state Attorney General Letitia James said last week at a news conference. "Specifically, the investigation found that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed current and former New York State employees by engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching and making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women."
In a video released last week, Cuomo said that he "never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances."
Cuomo has served as the governor of New York since 2011.
"Let me be clear — the committee's work over the last several months, although not complete, did uncover credible evidence in relation to allegations that have been made in reference to the governor," Heastie said in the statement. "Underscoring the depth of this investigation, this evidence concerned not only sexual harassment and misconduct but also the misuse of state resources in relation to the publication of the governor's memoir as well as improper and misleading disclosure of nursing home data during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This evidence — we believe — could likely have resulted in articles of impeachment had he not resigned," the statement noted.
Heastie said that he had asked for the evidence collected by the committee to be shared with the appropriate authorities.
"I have asked Chair Lavine to turn over to the relevant investigatory authorities all the evidence the committee has gathered. We are well aware that the attorney general is investigating issues concerning the governor's memoir; the Eastern District of the United States attorney has been investigating the administration's actions concerning nursing home data; and there are active investigations by local law enforcement authorities in five jurisdictions — Manhattan, Albany, Westchester, Nassau and Oswego — concerning incidents of sexual misconduct," Heastie said.