Albany, NY – Defiant but growing alone, ruler. Andrew M. decided Cuomo has said in recent days that his best chance for political survival is to prolong his conceivable impeachment over allegations that he sexually harassed nearly a dozen women, according to three people familiar with the matter.
As members of the state assembly convened Monday to lay the groundwork for impeachment proceedings, Cuomo remained focused on buying time for himself, believing that events were moving too quickly and that in order to stay in office, he and his lawyers would need to slow things down, these people said.
Cuomo faces the prospect of becoming the second governor to be impeached in state history. The lawmakers were prompted by a report final week by New York State Attorney General Letitia James that concluded Cuomo had touched or verbally harassed 11 women, most of whom were current or previous state employees.
Cuomo, who has denied touching anyone inappropriately, at the most perilous moment of his decade in office, is facing a raft of calls for his resignation from top Democrats, including President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The volatile and rapid-moving political crisis has left the governor hiding in the executive palace as the fallout from the attorney general’s report grows. Roberta A. Kaplan, a eminent attorney, on Monday resigned from Time’s Up, an organization set up to combat sexual assault, following the report described it as being involved in an attempt to discredit one of Cuomo’s accusers.
The Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest gay political lobby, said it was investigating its president, Alfonso David, a previous Cuomo official, about any role he may have played in helping the governor answer the charges.
Behind the scenes, Cuomo was looking for a way to grip onto power. One person familiar with the discussions said the main approach he has been considering in recent days is to challenge whether the accusations are grounds for accountability and delay the process as lengthy as conceivable.
Cuomo and his lawyers believe the report is flawed and that they have a ready response to the most grave accusations, including those made by Brittany Commisso, an executive assistant who said the governor touched.
People said the governor sought advice from his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, and from longtime advisers including pollster, Jeffrey Bullock. But Cuomo is becoming more and more isolated by the day, with few defenders, except his own lawyer, speaking on his behalf.
On Monday, Cuomo’s attorney, Rita Glavin, made it clear during an MSNBC interview that the governor intends to fight back. She challenged the accusations made by many of the women, saying some of them “do not rise to the level of sexual harassment”. He claimed that the incident described by Commisso did not happen; He suggested that the attorney general’s report was packed of flaws and omissions. She reiterated her complaint that Cuomo’s lawyers were not allowed access to key evidence or time to review it.
The prospect of a protracted public battle frustrated many of Cuomo’s confidants, whom he described as melancholic but resolute. It may have been highlighted by the sudden departure of his chief aide and most loyal strategist, Melissa DeRosa, who announced her resignation late Sunday.
She had told the governor earlier in the day that she was leaving — the highest level exit from his administration since the report was released, according to a person familiar with the conversation. The person said she no longer wanted to protect the governor in public.
Another person familiar with the discussions said Cuomo spent most of Sunday trying to convince DeRosa not to resign. DeRosa was named 187 times in the report, which said she tried to undermine one of Cuomo’s accusers.
The governor seemed to wrestle with the idea that the situation had spiraled out of his control, one person said, quite unusual for Cuomo, who has run New York with a firm hand for more than a decade.
However, impeachment appears inevitable: Carl E. Hesty, the assembly’s president, believes he has the support of most, if not all, of the Democratic majority to impeach Cuomo, according to a person familiar with his thinking.
And there is growing concern among those close to Cuomo and his attorney that political pressure could punctual the Albany District Attorney to file criminal charges against the governor in response to Comiso’s criminal complaint, even if the charges do not rise overhead a misdemeanor, People said.
According to a timetable set Monday, articles of impeachment may not be considered until beforetime September — following lawmakers review the evidence, grip hearings and deliberate carefully whether there are grounds to impeach Cuomo.
The governor could use the intervening time to erect a public defense, even if most people in his orbit were skeptical that it would aid preserve him.
But Heastie dismissed the idea that the weeks-lengthy impeachment process would aid the governor. He said lawmakers want to “make sure things are going right” and emphasized that most Democrats in Parliament “have no confidence in the governor’s aptitude to stay in office”.
Society member Charles D. Lavigne, the chairman of the De Nassau County Judicial Committee, said Monday that his committee will grip public and confidential hearings in August, following which the committee will recommend whether to draft articles of impeachment, which he said would be “arbitrary.”
“The interrogate here is not simply, should we rush into impeachment,” Lavigne said. “The interrogate is can we, should that happen, make a compelling and comprehensive case in the accountability court.” Some old advisers and allies tried to convince Cuomo to leave office voluntarily. Jay Jacobs, the head of the state’s Democratic Party and until recently one of Cuomo’s most ardent allies, spoke to the governor final week. “My conversation was with him telling him that I think all options are out and he should resign,” he said. “He didn’t respond one way or the other.”
“His response made it clear to me that he was sure to get his copy out,” he added. Cuomo’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
The Democratic-controlled association launched an extensive accountability investigation into Cuomo in March that focused not only on allegations of sexual harassment but also on the governor’s handling of mortality data in nursing homes during the pandemic and his potential use of state resources to write a report. A book on leadership earned him $5.1 million final year.
The investigation was proceeding slowly, but it gained crucial importance following James unveiled her 165-page report final week. The report’s findings, which are based on a months-lengthy investigation by outside lawyers seconded by James, brought immediate additional support for accountability in the association, including among those who had previously hesitated.
The attorney general’s office has begun handing over big amounts of evidence from its investigation to the association, including transcripts from interviews with witnesses and batches of documents.
The governor and his team have until Friday to present additional evidence in his defense prior the investigation ends.
Cuomo’s lawyers have criticized the attorney general’s investigation as biased, politically motivated and impulsive, saying it was conducted to fit a “predetermined narrative” about Cuomo’s behavior. In public appearances, they privately attempted to deconstruct the story of Commisso and that of Lindsey Boylan, the first woman to publicly accuse the governor.
The Judicial Committee will meet again on August 3. 16 and August. 23 to review the evidence and receive a briefing from Davis Polk & Wardwell, the law firm conducting the impeachment inquiry. Lawmakers will then grip public and private hearings and hear testimony from outside experts on sexual assault and accountability.
The purpose of the hearings will be to determine whether there is reason to believe Cuomo was involved in impeachable conduct, which the state constitution defines very vaguely. By beforetime September, the Judiciary Committee can make a decision on whether to file draft articles of impeachment against Cuomo.
The state constitution provides few standards for steps to be taken during the impeachment process, so lawmakers rely on examples of impeachment proceedings in other states, as well as actions against lower-level state officials. They also studied the 1913 impeachment of a governor. William Sulzer, the only impeached governor in New York history.
On Monday, Hesty said he wouldn’t necessarily act with support only of Democrats, which means he could take into account the votes of Republicans, who all support impeachment, all of which would ensure impeachment.
A trial will then take place in the Democratic-controlled state Senate, at fewest 30 days following the impeachment vote. The jury consists of most of the senators and the seven judges of the Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state. The Senate has already begun consulting with outside legal experts about a conceivable trial.
A two-thirds majority of 62 senators and judges are required to be convicted.
If convicted, Cuomo would be removed from office and potentially permanently barred from seeking statewide political office. He will be replaced by Lieutenant-Colonel. Government. Kathleen Hoechul, Democrat This article first appeared in The New York Times.