As New York Attorney General Letitia James on Monday announced the attorneys who will conduct the independent review on the sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Republicans in the state Legislature said they intend to seek the embattled leader’s impeachment.
James appointed Joon H. Kim and Anne L. Clark to look into the sexual harassment allegations. Kim is a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Clark focuses on employment law.
James said the state is committed to a thorough review and heralded Kim and Clark as experts. Kim and Clark will be able to issue subpoenas, depose people and review records. They will give James’ office a weekly update throughout the investigation.
“There is no question that they both have the knowledge and background necessary to lead this investigation and provide New Yorkers with the answers they deserve,” said James, who promised the report will be made public.
In the past two weeks, five women have claimed Cuomo has harassed them or touched them in appropriately. That includes three who worked in his gubernatorial administration. The allegations range from unwanted touching to inappropriate discussions about sex and dating.
With each claim, Cuomo has faced calls for his resignation, culminating with state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins issuing a statement saying the governor should step down after two women came forward over the weekend.
Cuomo has pushed back on those calls, urging for patience until the investigation is complete.
Meanwhile in Albany, Republicans in the state Assembly said the harassment allegations as well as the concerns over how the Cuomo administration handled nursing home policy and data during the pandemic cast too long of a shadow over him.
Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, R-Pulaski, pointed to Stewart-Cousins’ statement and a subsequent one from Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, that urged the governor to consider stepping down as proof of a lack of confidence in the governor.
“It will be impossible for Gov. Cuomo to lead our state out of a pandemic – and negotiate one of the most important budgets in our state’s history – with a complete lack of credibility and trust from both the public and Legislature,” he said.
It’s unlikely the impeachment resolution will gain traction in the Assembly. Republicans tried fruitlessly for months to end the governor’s emergency powers to no avail, and while a growing number of Democrats have called for his resignation, Democratic leaders have rejected calls to establish a bipartisan impeachment commission.
While the nursing home scandal and harassment allegations are at the front and center of the impeachment case, Assemblyman Jake Ashby, R-Castleton, said the administration also withheld information from the public about possible structural integrity issued with the Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge despite lawmakers wanting information.
“Each further day that Gov. Cuomo spends in office threatens increased harm to our great State – he must be held accountable, and I am proud to introduce legislative action to remove him from office,” Ashby said.
– – –