(WSYR-TV)– In a political whirlwind nearly five months in the making, State Attorney General Letitia James dropped a bombshell report last Tuesday finding evidence to support sexual harassment claims against Governor Andrew Cuomo by 11 women.
“These interviews and pieces of evidence reveal a deeply disturbing yet clear picture,” James said. “Governor Cuomo sexually harassed current and former employees in violation of current federal and state laws.”
The announcement led many prominent political figures to call for Governor Cuomo’s resignation, including President Biden.
Assemblywoman and Chair of the Onondaga County Democratic Committee, Pamela Hunter told NewsChannel 9 the governor needs to resign.
I think he needs to go at this point, I think that he’s not fit to serve, I don’t know where he has loyalty.Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter, Assembly District 128 (D)
Despite these calls, Governor Cuomo’s camp is not backing down. His attorneys held a Zoom press briefing on Friday afternoon picking apart the AG’s report piece by piece.
Governor Cuomo’s personal attorney, Rita Glavin of Glavin PLLC said the report was one-sided and that the governor was ambushed.
“This investigation was conducted in a manner to support a predetermined narrative,” she said.
While the Attorney General’s investigation shows that Governor Cuomo violated state and federal law, the investigation was a civil one so they won’t be pressing charges.
However, the first official criminal complaint against the governor was filed with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office on Friday by one of his accusers.
“We have a lot of fact-finding to do, we have a lot of interviews to do and you know I’m not going to rush it because of who he is and I’m not going to delay it because of who he is,” Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said Saturday during a press conference.
Sheriff Apple added that the governor could face one or more misdemeanor charges if investigators substantiate that claim.
Oswego County District Attorney Greg Oakes also told NewsChannel 9 that he will begin the process of investigating the incident that happened to one of the accusers, Virginia Limmiatis back in 2017.
The governor may also face impeachment charges by the Assembly Judiciary Committee who has been investigating these sexual harassment claims and other scandals plaguing the governor since March.
The committee released a statement on Thursday saying they were nearing the end of their investigation and they would soon consider potential articles on impeachment. They also requested that any additional evidence or written submissions by the governor’s legal team be submitted to them no later than 5:00 p.m. on August 13, 2021.
If the committee moves an impeachment resolution to the full assembly, a majority vote is required of the 150 assembly members, at least 76 votes.
From there Governor Cuomo would have to temporarily step aside and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul would take over as governor while a special impeachment court conducts a trial.
That court would be made up of 69 jurors, including 62 of the 63 State Senate members and all seven judges of the state’s highest court. State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins would be excluded from the trial as she would move up to take over the Lieutenant Governor position.
A two-thirds majority vote is needed to convict the governor, that’s at least 46 votes. If convicted, he would be removed from office and Hochul would serve out the remainder of his term.