ALBANY – New York’s Governor is signaling that he is done speaking publicly about the sexual harassment claims made against him in the recent weeks.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, speaking with reporters during a telephone conference on Wednesday, says he will not take any more questions or make any comments on the investigation underway.
“Let the lawyers do their job and let them conduct the review,” Cuomo said. “Then we can talk about it when we have facts established.”
This after President Joe Biden announced his stance on the subject, saying Cuomo should not only be removed from office if the claims are found to be true, but, face criminal charges as well.
“If you, if you committed a crime, you can be prosecuted. That’s true, but what President Biden said was, we should do an investigation,” said Cuomo. “The question to President Biden, starts with, do you think the Governor should resign or do you think there should be a review first? And the President said there should be a review.”
At least seven women have accused the governor of misconduct.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has selected Davis Polk and Wardwall LLP to lead the impeachment investigation into Cuomo. The inquiry is expected to be broad, possibly focusing on the allegations made against the governor, his administration’s handling of nursing home data during the Coronavirus pandemic, and the Mario Cuomo Bridge.
“I’m going to respect the review and I won’t comment on it or related matters,” Cuomo added.
Meanwhile, attorneys Joon Kim and Anne Clark are also looking into the harassment allegations on behalf of New York State Attorney General Letitia James. That team met with Cuomo accuser Charlotte Bennett on Monday and is expected to meet with another accuser, Ana Liss, later this week.
Heastie saying the judiciary committee looked at “a few” firms before selecting Davis Polk.
“They were vetted externally by us and internally by the firm,” the speaker said. “I don’t believe there is going to be any conflict.”
Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt, the highest-ranking Republican in Western New York’s delegation of legislators, suggested the assembly didn’t have to go forward with an impeachment investigation at all, and should just put an impeachment resolution on the floor for a vote.
“To me there is enough there,” Ortt said on Tuesday, before the selection of Davis Polk. “You don’t need to do this. That’s the first part. I think it’s important because now we’re also going to talk about spending what I would think is going to be a considerable amount of money on an outside law firm.”
Ortt speculated the firm’s hiring could cost at least seven figures. Heastie saying the contract with Davis Polk was still being negotiated.