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New York impeachment probe into Cuomo nears completion, lawmaker says

Reuters
Reuters
 2021-08-05
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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a ground breaking ceremony at the Bay Park Water Reclamation Facility in East Rockaway, New York, U.S., April 22, 2021. Spencer Platt/Pool via REUTERS

NEW YORK, Aug 5 (Reuters) - The New York State Assembly impeachment investigation into Governor Andrew Cuomo is nearing completion and the chamber's judiciary committee has asked his lawyers to submit evidence by the end of next week, the panel's chairman said on Thursday.

The deadline is part of growing pressure on New York's third-term Democratic governor, who is facing numerous calls for his resignation two days after an investigation overseen by the state's top prosecutor Attorney General Letitia James concluded he had sexually harassed 11 women.

Shortly after James disclosed the findings of the report, Cuomo, 63, issued a video statement making it clear he had no plans to do resign and denying he had acted inappropriately. He has stayed out of public view since then.

New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Lavine said in a statement on Thursday that his panel's investigation is nearly finished and that it will soon consider articles of impeachment against Cuomo. The panel's independent counsel has asked Cuomo's lawyers to provide any additional evidence or written submissions by Aug. 13, Lavine added.

The committee had previously issued a subpoena for such material and expected Cuomo to comply fully, Lavine said.

The judiciary committee, scheduled to meet on Monday, opened an impeachment investigation in March after two former Cuomo staffers came forward with complaints of sexual harassment by the governor. The probe has taken on fresh urgency since James released the results of the five-month independent investigation.

Under the New York Constitution, the Assembly has the power to impeach the governor and bring him to trial before the Senate, who would then decide whether to convict and remove him from office. An impeachment resolution would require a simple majority in the 150-member Assembly to pass.

Cuomo's attorney Rita Glavin did not immediately respond to request for comment.

The findings of the investigation initiated by James found that Cuomo groped, kissed or made suggestive comments to women, including current and former government workers, created a "toxic" workplace, and that his office unlawfully retaliated against the first accuser to go public. After James unveiled the probe's conclusions, President Joe Biden and other prominent Democrats called on Cuomo to resign.

Local prosecutors have requested investigative materials gathered in the inquiry as they consider whether to pursue criminal charges against Cuomo.

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