Washington (CNN) — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s reluctance to step down after an incriminating investigation by the New York attorney general’s office has sparked new calls for impeachment against him across the state.
An investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office found that Cuomo, a Democrat, engaged in “unwanted and non-consensual touching” and made comments of a “suggestive” sexual nature.
New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who launched an impeachment inquiry against Cuomo in March, said Tuesday that the governor “lost the confidence of the Democratic majority in the Assembly” and “can no longer stand. in office “.
Here’s what you need to know about the impeachment process:
What is the New York impeachment process?
The New York State Assembly is tasked with conducting the vote to impeach Cuomo, in accordance with the New York State Constitution. The Assembly, which is made up of 150 legislators, only needs a majority vote to carry out a political trial by the Constitution called “misconduct or embezzlement.”
The New York Assembly is overwhelmingly controlled by Democrats, and the party has 106 of 150 seats. Seventy-six votes are needed to impeach Cuomo.
If the Assembly votes in favor of impeachment, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Buffalo Democrat, becomes governor, stripping Cuomo of her decision-making ability.
Cuomo would then go to trial, held by the New York Senate, which would be made up of senators and appellate court judges, according to the state Constitution. Hochul would not be part of the trial, says the Constitution. Cuomo would have to be found guilty by two-thirds of the state Senate. Democrats hold 43 of the 63 seats in the legislative chamber.
Could Cuomo be removed from office?
If convicted, the punishment would be removal from office, the Constitution establishes. If Cuomo passes the impeachment process and is acquitted, he will be governor again. She would regain her position with all the powers that go with her.
“The trial in impeachment cases shall not extend beyond removal from office, or removal from office and disqualification from holding and enjoying any public office of honor, trust or profit in this state; but the accused party it will be susceptible of accusation and punishment according to the law “, reads the Constitution.
What is the status of the state impeachment inquiry?
The impeachment inquiry launched by the New York State Assembly in March is ongoing.
A member of the Democratic state assembly that is part of the Judicial Commission, which would write the articles of impeachment, told CNN that they will meet with their lawyers on Monday to discuss the impeachment process.
The Judicial Commission has been investigating Cuomo in four areas: allegations of sexual harassment, covid-19 deaths in nursing homes, usurpation of state resources for personal gain, and cover-up charges for the damaged Mario Cuomo bridge bolts.
“Are we going to wait until we have fully investigated all four or are we going to deal with them one at a time when we are ready to deal with them?” Said the assembly member. “We have a decision to make here. We can decide to wait and do all of them at once, or do them one at a time, or leave a few.”
Judiciary Commission Chairman Charles Lavine, a Democrat, told commission members and attorneys in March that the investigation will likely take “months, rather than weeks” and does not have a set deadline. Greg Andres, an attorney for the commission, acknowledged at the time that James’ investigation into the sexual harassment allegations could yield findings faster than the impeachment investigation.
What does Cuomo say?
Cuomo has continued to insist that he did nothing wrong and made no indication in his comments Tuesday that he would resign.
But the Democrats’ public outcry amounts to the most serious challenge yet to his 11-year grip on New York state politics, and Tuesday afternoon it was far from certain that he could withstand pressure to step down.
CNN’s Paul P. Murphy, Dan Merica, and Mark Morales contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism