The New York State Assembly will suspend impeachment proceedings against Governor Andrew Cuomo after his resignation went into effect on August 25, spokesman Carl Heastie said Friday.
Cuomo announced his resignation earlier this week after the New York State Attorney General found that he sexually molested at least 11 women and monitored a hostile work environment in his office.
Heastie said the State Assembly Judiciary Committee’s impeachment investigation approved in March due to the governor’s resignation was no longer required. The Judiciary Committee also told the congregation that the state’s constitution does not authorize lawmakers to prosecute and dismiss an elected official who is no longer in office, Heastie said.
However, the committee’s work over the past few months has uncovered evidence related to allegations against the governor, Heastie said, which “could likely lead to impeachment if he had not resigned.”
This includes evidence related to sexual harassment and misconduct, misuse of government funds related to the governor’s memoir, and misleading disclosure of nursing home data during the coronavirus pandemic.
Heastie has asked the Judiciary Committee to turn over any evidence gathered during the investigation to the “appropriate investigative authorities”.
The attorney general is investigating questions related to Cuomo’s memoir while the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York investigates his administration’s actions on nursing home data.
The governor’s sexual misconduct investigations are conducted by local law enforcement in five jurisdictions: Manhattan, Albany, Westchester, Nassau, and Oswego.
“The people of this great state expect and deserve a government they can rely on, one that always has their best interests in view. Our government should always work transparently, safely and honestly, “Heastie said in a statement on Friday.
Lindsey Boylan, a former advisor to the governor and one of the 11 women who made allegations of sexual harassment, criticized the gathering’s decision.
“The assembly’s decision to end its impeachment proceedings is an unjust cop. The public deserves to know the extent of the governor’s misdeeds and possible crimes. His victims deserve justice and know that he cannot harm others, ”Boylan said in a Twitter post on Friday.
In his resignation speech on Tuesday, Cuomo said he had decided to step down so as not to distract the state as it grapples with the pandemic and other issues.
“Given the circumstances, the best way to help now is to step aside and let the government go back to the government,” Cuomo said on Tuesday. “And that’s why I’m going to do this, because I work for you, and doing what’s right is doing what’s right for you.”
The governor has denied sexually molesting people, but acknowledged that some of his comments made the women uncomfortable and apologized for them.
Cuomo is dodging impeachment and dismissal, meaning he still has options to run for office again, including a jump into a future gubernatorial election.
Cuomo’s re-election campaign account had only more than 18 million US dollars available after the first half of the year, far exceeding the funds of the New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who will end the remainder of the governor’s term if he resigns. Hochul intends to run for governor after Cuomo’s tenure.
Records show that Cuomo’s campaign paid more than $ 280,000 to his law firm, Glavin PLLC, while under investigation by the New York attorney general.
– CNBC’s Dan Mangan and Brian Schwartz contributed to this report.
Correction: Lindsey Boylan is a former advisor to the governor and one of 11 women who have made sexual harassment allegations. In a previous version, her name was misspelled.