By Jonathan Allen
Lawmakers in the New York State Assembly will issue a report on their investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo after abandoning an impeachment effort in light of his resignation over complaints of sexual harassment, members said.
The Assembly’s Judiciary Committee began an impeachment investigation in March after two women who worked for Cuomo went public with complaints of sexual harassment.
The state’s attorney general released a separate report this month concluding that the Democratic governor had kissed, groped or made unwelcome sexual advances to at least 11 women, including aides and a state trooper. Cuomo said last Tuesday he would step down in two weeks, and lawmakers later said they would no longer seek to impeach and remove him.
Even so, the Judiciary Committee is still reviewing evidence amassed on accusations of sexual harassment and efforts by his administration to withhold data showing the true extent of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and committee Chair Charles Lavine said in a joint statement.
New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is set to succeed Cuomo when he leaves office next week, which would make her the first woman to lead the state. Hochul said last week she intended to root out officials who behaved unethically under Cuomo’s watch to ensure her administration does not foster a “toxic work environment.”
Her comments came one day after Cuomo announced his resignation, triggered by the report from New York Attorney General Letitia James that concluded the three-term governor had created a hostile workplace.
The five-month independent investigation accused Cuomo of violating U.S. and state laws, though James deferred to local authorities on pursuing criminal charges.
At least one of Cuomo’s accusers, Brittany Commisso, has filed a criminal complaint with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office. Commisso alleged that Cuomo groped her breast at the Executive Mansion in late 2020.
The sexual harassment probe was one of numerous investigations launched by the Democratic attorney general’s office into Cuomo this year. In January, James announced a probe into accusations that the Cuomo administration had undercounted the number of COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents.
Her office is also investigating whether he improperly used state resources to publish a book about governing through the early days of the COVID-19 health crisis. The book deal is reportedly worth more than $5 million.
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen and Tyler Clifford in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis)