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Two announcements from Cuomo’s office hint that governor isn’t likely to step down

Cuomo
Governor Andrew Cuomo.
File photo by Dean Moses

Scandal-scarred Governor Andrew Cuomo showed no signs of resigning from office Thursday, Aug. 5, despite an avalanche of calls for him to step aside.

Two days after the release of State Attorney General Letitia James’s explosive investigation which found Cuomo allegedly sexually harassed 11 women, the state’s chief executive remained largely reclusive — but a senior advisor released a statement late Thursday afternoon saying Cuomo would cooperate with an ongoing separate investigation by the State Assembly.

“The Assembly has said it is doing a full and thorough review of the complaints and has offered the Governor and his team an opportunity to present facts and their perspective. The Governor appreciates the opportunity. We will be cooperating,” said Rich Azzopardi in a statement released just before 5 p.m.

That seemed to indicate the governor was ready to dig in for a showdown with the State Legislature, which has the power to impeach and remove Cuomo from office. 

The Assembly’s Judiciary Committee is nearing the end of its probe into the governor and gave his legal team an Aug. 13 deadline to submit evidence and written statements, the committee’s chairperson Charles Lavine (D–Long Island) announced Thursday morning.

The Assembly can draw up articles of impeachment against the governor and if lawmakers approve them, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul would become acting governor while the trial is ongoing in the so-called High Court of Impeachment, which is mostly made up of state senators.

A majority of the Assembly’s 150 members are reportedly in favor of impeaching the third-term governor if he doesn’t resign, which appears unlikely. 

The Senate by law has to wait at least 30 before starting official impeachment proceedings in Albany.

Since the AG report’s release on Aug. 3, Cuomo has lost support from virtually all his fellow Democrats, including President Joe Biden and longtime ally New York State Democratic Party leader Jay Jacobs, along with powerful labor unions that have funded his political campaigns.

Five prosecutors across the Empire State have already announced they are investigating claims from James’s report, including district attorneys from Albany, Manhattan, Westchester, Nassau, and Oswego counties.

James’s investigation by two outside attorneys found that Cuomo sexually harassed the women, most of whom worked for him or the state, and that the Executive Chamber fostered a “toxic” work environment enabling his abuse.

The report also alleged Cuomo’s office unlawfully retaliated against his first public accuser Lindsey Boylan, by leaking personnel files to the press after she came forward.

Boylan has since indicated she plans to sue the Governor’s office for those moves.

Cuomo disputed some of the findings in a pre-taped video statement Tuesday, but then went dark, with no public schedule for Wednesday or Thursday, but the occasional press release about unrelated state initiatives.

A photographer for the New York Post captured Cuomo lounging by the pool at the Executive Mansion in Albany with a female staffer typing on a laptop next to him.

On Thursday, his office released a statement drawing attention to a letter from Cuomo’s legal team cited in James’s report defending the Executive Chamber’s behavior toward Boylan, saying it was not illegal they believed she was trying to boost her political campaigns, first for Congress then for Manhattan Borough President.

“The report speaks for itself and we stand by it,” AG spokesperson Fabien Levy told amNewYork Metro in response.

A lawyer for Boylan did not respond to a request for comment.

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