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New York lawmakers have taken the first step in impeaching Andrew Cuomo

Female aide has accused governor of groping her at Executive Mansion in Albany

Graeme Massie
Thursday 11 March 2021 23:43 GMT
Cuomo Denies Inappropriate Touching Of Female Aide

New York lawmakers have taken the first step in impeaching the state’s under fire governor Andrew Cuomo.

The New York Assembly speaker authorised the opening of an impeachment investigation into Mr Cuomo, who has been accused of sexual harassment by at least six women.

Speaker Carl Heastie said that the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee will look into the allegations made against Mr Cuomo, as well as claims of a cover-up of nursing home deaths during the pandemic.

Mr Heastie said the investigation will be led by chairman Charles Lavine.

“The reports of accusations concerning the governor are serious,” Mr Heastie said in a statement.

“The committee will have the authority to interview witnesses, subpoena documents and evaluate evidence, as is allowed by the New York State Constitution.

“I have the utmost faith that Assembly member Lavine and the members of the committee will conduct an expeditious, full and thorough investigation.

“This inquiry will not interfere with the independent investigation being conducted by attorney general James.”

New York attorney general Letitia James said that the impeachment proceedings would have no impact on her office’s investigation of Mr Cuomo.

“Today’s action by the New York state legislature will have no bearing on our independent investigation into these allegations against Governor Cuomo. Our investigation will continue,” said Ms James.

Earlier Albany police confirmed that the latest allegation made against Mr Cuomo had been referred to them and they had reached out to the alleged victim.

The governor has been accused of groping an unidentified female aide at the Executive Mansion, where he lives in Albany, New York.

He has denied the claim.

A spokesman for the police department, Steve Smith, told the New York Times that it had not received a formal complaint from the alleged victim.

Mr Cuomo’s acting counsel, Beth Garvey, said she had called the police herself to report the allegation after a lawyer for the alleged victim said the aide did not want to file a report.

“As a matter of state policy, when allegations of physical contact are made, the agency informs the complainant that they should contact their local police department,” said Ms Garvey in a statement.

“If they decline, the agency has an obligation to reach out themselves and inform the department of the allegation.

“In this case, the person is represented by counsel and when counsel confirmed the client did not want to make a report, the state notified the police department and gave them the attorney’s information.”

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