September 17, 2021

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Cuomo Impeachment Inquiry ‘Nearing Completion,’ State Assembly Says – The New York Times

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The State Assembly’s impeachment investigation into Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is “nearing completion” and the body will soon consider “potential articles of impeachment” against him, the chair of the committee overseeing the inquiry said in a statement on Thursday.

Charles D. Lavine, who leads the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, said that lawyers hired by the judiciary committee had directed Mr. Cuomo and his legal team to submit any evidence in the governor’s defense by next Friday. The lawyers had previously issued a subpoena for relevant documents.

The move was the latest and most vivid indication yet that the Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats, was moving quickly to impeach Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat.

The Assembly began a broad impeachment inquiry into the governor in March, which had started slowly, in part because it was examining several scandals involving Mr. Cuomo, including his handling of nursing home deaths during the pandemic, that could lead to the governor’s impeachment.

But after a report from the New York State attorney general’s office this week concluded that Mr. Cuomo had sexually harassed nearly a dozen women, the Assembly’s leaders signaled that they intended to expedite their inquiry and move on to an impeachment vote.

The Assembly’s speaker, Carl E. Heastie, said on Tuesday that members would “move expeditiously and look to conclude our impeachment investigation as quickly as possible.”

Lawmakers in the Assembly could impeach Mr. Cuomo with a simple majority vote. A trial would then be held in the State Senate, where Democrats are also in the majority. If convicted, Mr. Cuomo would be removed from office and potentially barred permanently from seeking statewide political office. The lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, would replace him as governor.

The impeachment investigation initially had four main focal points: the sexual harassment allegations; Mr. Cuomo’s handling of data about nursing home deaths; whether he used state resources to write his memoir about the pandemic; and whether his administration covered up potential structural problems on the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.

But one assemblyman on the committee said on Wednesday that the investigation had “been redirecting” away from the bridge allegations to other areas, which several others close to the investigation confirmed.

Mr. Lavine’s statement did not provide a likely end date for the impeachment investigation, and several members of his committee have said that they will take as long as needed in order to assemble the strongest possible case for impeachment in preparation for a trial. A person familiar with the process said earlier this week that it could take a month to complete the inquiry and draw up the articles of impeachment.

The committee is next scheduled to meet on Monday morning in Albany.

Mr. Cuomo, who has denied ever touching anyone inappropriately, has for months refused to heed calls for his resignation. In the wake of the attorney general’s report, his support has dropped among the public, and he has seen defections from some of his most loyal backers.

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