Lauded nationwide last year for his no-nonsense coronavirus (Covid-19) briefings, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was clinging to his political life yesterday as prosecutors opened criminal inquiries into sexual harassment allegations against the powerful Democrat.
New York state assembly Democrats are poised to complete an impeachment inquiry soon while three district attorneys are pursuing criminal investigations after Tuesday’s bombshell report found Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women.
The investigation concluded that Cuomo engaged in “unwelcome and non-consensual” conduct “that created a hostile work environment for women”.
It detailed allegations by 11 women that painted “a picture of a pattern of abusive behaviour by Cuomo and his senior staff”, state Attorney-General Letitia James said, announcing the findings.
The pressure continued to build on Cuomo yesterday as prosecutors in Manhattan and Westchester County joined those in Albany in opening a criminal inquiry and requesting documents from James’s investigation, which was only civil in nature.
Allies, including President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York City’s likely next mayor, Eric Adams, quickly deserted him following the explosive report.
And yesterday the New York Times editorial board called on him to quit.
After Cuomo made it clear he had no plans to step down voluntarily, the Democratic speaker of New York’s state assembly, Carl Heastie, said an impeachment investigation would be concluded “as quickly as possible”.
“He can no longer remain in office,” Heastie said.
If the lower house assembly approves impeachment articles, which now seems all but certain, Cuomo would become the first New York governor to be impeached in more than a century.
A Marist Poll showed yesterday that some 59% of New Yorkers think Cuomo should resign.
The poll of 614 randomly selected New York state adults was conducted by landline or mobile phone on Tuesday and survey questions were available in English or Spanish, Marist said.
It found that 59% said the governor should resign in light of the findings, 32% said he should serve out his term, and 9% said they were unsure.
Among New York Democrats, 52% said that he should resign, 41% said he should not, and 8% were unsure, while 77% of Republicans said he should quit, 16% said he should stay, and 7% were unsure.
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