Having pledged to fight the sexual harassment allegations outlined in state Attorney General Letitia James’ independent investigation report on Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo offered no public statements on the matter through Wednesday afternoon.
The Governor’s office released three known official items to the media through 4 p.m. on Aug. 4. The first, sent in the morning, was the announcement of a campaign to promote the Child Tax Credit, which provides cash payments to eligible parents.
Two releases in the afternoon included the regular daily update on COVID-19 totals in New York state (the 7-day positivity rate up to 2.57%, with 3,115 new cases reported and seven more fatalities to the illness) and details about the completion of a $12.3 million affordable housing development in upstate Erie County.
The governor’s official Twitter page was more active, with updates on the daily COVID-19 vaccination totals and some retweets, including a post from the official New York State Twitter page congratulating recent medal winners from the Empire State at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
But there were no official statements volunteered from the office Wednesday in the aftermath of James’ report being released. The report outlines allegations made by 11 women, including former Cuomo aides and even a state trooper, that the state’s top executive sexually harassed them — from groping and embracing them without their consent, to speaking with them in sexual overtones.
James’ report of the five-month investigation, carried out by two top attorneys in Joon Kim and Anne Clark, indicated that Cuomo allegedly broke state and federal law. She deferred prosecuting the matter and closed the case — but that opened the door for four district attorneys, including Manhattan’s chief prosecutor, Cy Vance Jr., to launch probes into the allegations and request related materials from James’ office.
After the report was released Tuesday morning, Cuomo issued a pre-recorded statement in the afternoon denying wrongdoing, in most cases, and asserting that his actions were misinterpreted. He gave no indication that he would resign — even as a bipartisan assortment of federal, state and city lawmakers demanded that he step aside immediately.
Cuomo’s up for re-election in 2022 and is eligible to fun for a fourth term, though he may not get the opportunity. James’ report was provided to the Assembly, which is conducting its own investigation into the matter, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said Tuesday afternoon that the legislature would pursue an impeachment inquiry.
Much like presidential impeachment proceedings, the state Assembly can draft and pass articles of impeachment against the governor, which it can then present to the state Senate at a trial. The governor can provide a defense of the accusations. Should two-thirds of the senators vote to convict the governor, he would be removed from office.
If Cuomo steps down or is removed from office, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul would succeed him as the 57th governor of the Empire State.
Stay tuned to amNY.com for the latest developments on the Cuomo investigation.