KEY POINTS

  • Albany Police said they are looking into charges of groping against Cuomo
  • Police spokesman said the incident may rise "to the level of a crime."
  • 59 Democrats signed a letter seeking Cuomo's resignation Thursday

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo found his support eroding rapidly with state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie authorizing an impeachment investigation into the sexual harassment allegations leveled by six women, including former aides. Though Cuomo has consistently denied the allegations, the latest development may have serious implications as 59 Democratic lawmakers in New York have called for his resignation.

"After meeting with the Assembly Majority Conference today, I am authorizing the Assembly Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment investigation, led by Chair Charles D. Lavine, to examine allegations of misconduct against Governor Cuomo," Heastie said in a statement

Calling the reports of accusations "serious," Heastie said the committee will have the authority to interview witnesses, subpoena documents and evaluate evidence, as is allowed by the New York State Constitution. "This inquiry will not interfere with the independent investigation being conducted by Attorney General James," the statement added. Cuomo is yet to respond to this development. 

Meanwhile, Albany police told New York Times that they are looking into allegations of groping against Cuomo. A former staff member, the latest to raise allegations against the Governor, said Cuomo summoned her to the Executive Mansion late last year and reached under her blouse, and fondled her, when they were alone. 

Albany police spokesman Steve Smith said the incident may rise "to the level of a crime." He said the department has approached a representative for the woman to offer its services, but a criminal investigation is yet to start. Albany police received their referral from the New York State Police on Wednesday night, Smith said.

Beth Garvey, the governor’s acting counsel, said she called the police to make the referral. “In this case the person is represented by counsel and when counsel confirmed the client did not want to make a report, the state notified the police department and gave them the attorney’s information,” she said. 

On Thursday, 59 Democrats, including 19 senators and 40 Assembly members, signed a letter seeking Cuomo's resignation. “In light of the Governor’s admission of inappropriate behavior and the findings of altered data on nursing home COVID-19 deaths he has lost the confidence of the public and the state legislature, rendering him ineffective in this time of most urgent need,” the lawmakers wrote.

“In the meantime, the Governor needs to put the people of New York first," the letter stated. "We have a Lieutenant Governor who can step in and lead for the remainder of the term, and this is what is best for New Yorkers in this critical time. It is time for Governor Cuomo to resign,” the letter read. 

According to an AP report, 121 members of the state Assembly and Senate have said publicly they believe Cuomo should go. This includes 65 Democrats and 56 Republicans.

Cuomo has continuously denied the charges and said he had no plans to resign. Besides the harassment charges, the Governor was also under fire over the lack of transparency about coronavirus-related nursing home deaths under his administration. 

Three women have accused New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of harassment, including two former aides New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Photo: AFP / Johannes EISELE