While recent findings that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women have dominated talk about an ongoing impeachment inquiry against him, the embattled Democrat will also face intense scrutiny over his handling of the state’s nursing home crisis during the coronavirus pandemic.
New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Lavine detailed the scope of the impeachment probe during a hearing on Monday. The committee’s inquiry into whether Cuomo should be impeached began last March but has gained momentum since the release of New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ damning report detailing the governor’s conduct.
“The governor will have the opportunity to address issues of sexual harassment as well as issues relating to use of public resources to write his book, allegations relating to the nursing home deaths and the various statements and reports relating to that issue, allegations relating to preferential access to COVID-19 testing and any other issues the governor wishes to address.”
Aside from the scathing response to the sexual harassment claims, Cuomo has faced bipartisan calls to resign for months amid allegations that his office significantly underreported the number of COVID-19 deaths at nursing homes. In January, James’ office concluded Cuomo’s team may have undercounted the number of deaths by as much as 50%.
In related developments, Cuomo faced criticism after news outlets reported last March that he had directed state health officials to prioritize his own family for COVID-19 testing in the early days of the pandemic. That same month, the New York Times reported that Cuomo used public resources, including the labor of aides and assistants, to write his book on leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In all instances, Cuomo has denied wrongdoing. The governor has refused calls to step down amid scrutiny over the attorney general’s report on the sexual harassment claims as well as the state’s nursing home crisis.
President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are among the public figures who have called on Cuomo to resign.
Lavine indicated the impeachment probe targeting Cuomo would consider the evidence as well as testimony from Cuomo’s legal team. The 20-member committee is set to meet throughout the month and may present findings by the end of August.
“Our investigation remains confidential, as it should be. At the appropriate time and as early as later this month, we will discuss the evidence publicly in an open and transparent manner once the investigation is either completed or very close to completion,” Lavine added. “The governor’s lawyers have said he wants to be treated fairly ‘like anyone else in this country,’ and he will be.”