On Aug. 3, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) released the findings of an investigation into accusations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).
The report found that Cuomo sexually harassed at least eleven women, breaking state and federal laws in doing so. The report’s executive summary stated that Cuomo “sexually harassed a number of current and former New York State employees by, among other things, engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching, as well as making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women.”
Cuomo responded to the report’s release, stating: “I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances. I am 63 years old. I have lived my entire adult life in public view. That is just not who I am, and that’s not who I have ever been.”
On Aug. 5, the New York State Assembly announced that it was close to completing an impeachment investigation of Cuomo, which it began in March. The Assembly Judiciary Committee asked Cuomo to provide any materials he would like to submit as part of the investigation by the end of the week.
James’ office began the inquiry in February 2021 after multiple women came forward over several months accusing the governor of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior.
Also in February, the F.B.I. and U.S. Attorney’s office began an investigation of the actions of a task force Cuomo led in relation to the handling of nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This investigation followed James releasing a report stating that many nursing home residents died from COVID-19 in hospitals after they were transferred from nursing homes and that these deaths were not reflected in the Department of Health’s count of nursing home deaths. The report stated that nursing home resident deaths appeared to be undercounted by about 50%.
Cuomo said about the timing of the release of nursing home fatality data, “More than anything it was just a capacity issue. … Remember, at the same time we’re managing the pandemic; that’s what everyone was doing, and these things take time and the No. 1 priority was saving peoples’ lives.”
Throughout these events, multiple prominent Democrats have called for Cuomo’s resignation. They include President Joe Biden (D), U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Govs. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), Tom Wolf (D-Pa.), Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Dan McKee (D-R.I.), state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D), and state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D).
In New York, a simple majority vote by the New York State Assembly is required to impeach a sitting governor. If that occurs, the case would go before a High Court of Impeachment made up of all sitting state senators except the majority leader, a well as the members of the court of appeals. Two-thirds of the 69-person court, or 46 members, would have to vote to impeach the governor.
In New York, if the governor resigns, the lieutenant governor fills the position until the remainder of the term. New York’s lieutenant governor is Kathy Hochul (D). Cuomo’s current term runs through 2023.
New York has removed one governor from office in the state’s history. Governor William Sulzer was impeached in 1913 after 10 months in office.