ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie shared Friday that the Assembly will suspend its impeachment investigation upon Governor Cuomo’s resignation taking effect August 25.
He said that there are two reasons for the decision. ” First, the purpose of the Assembly Judiciary Committee’s impeachment investigation was to determine whether Governor Cuomo should remain in office. The governor’s resignation answers that directive. Second, we have been advised by Chair Lavine – with the assistance of counsel – of the belief that the constitution does not authorize the legislature to impeach and remove an elected official who is no longer in office.”
He said that the committee’s work over the last several months did uncover credible evidence in relation to allegations that have been made in reference to the governor.
“Underscoring the depth of this investigation, this evidence concerned not only sexual harassment and misconduct but also the misuse of state resources in relation to the publication of the governor’s memoir as well as improper and misleading disclosure of nursing home data during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he continues in his statement.
The Assembly Speaker said the Assembly believes the evidence could likely have resulted in articles of impeachment had the governor not resigned.
He has asked Chair Lavine to turn over to the relevant investigatory authorities all the evidence the committee has gathered.
“We are well aware that the attorney general is investigating issues concerning the governor’s memoir; the Eastern District of the United States attorney has been investigating the administration’s actions concerning nursing home data; and there are active investigations by local law enforcement authorities in five jurisdictions – Manhattan, Albany, Westchester, Nassau and Oswego – concerning incidents of sexual misconduct.”
Heastie said this is a “tragic chapter in our state’s history” and said the government should operate in a transparent, safe, an honest manner.
Assembly Minority Leader William Barclay said this news feels like a slap in the face. He said the governor needs to be help accountable for his actions citing not only the sexual harassment allegations but other scandals that plagued the governor’s third term in office.
“Well I’m very disappointed, I would say angry and upset about it,” he said. “The Judiciary Committee spent months and months investigating this. We’ve spent millions of dollars in this investigation and right near you know the conclusion they deicide to suspend it. It seems like the Dems are covering up the cover up and I think it’s very unfortunate.”
Other Assembly members have also expressed their distaste of this suspension in written statements, including Assemblyman Robert Smullen and Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt.