In Cortland, Heastie Takes Wait-And-See Approach On Special Session
UPDATED: 6:54 A.M., August 20, 2021
ITHACA, NY (WSKG) - The state Assembly’s investigation into a myriad of allegations made against Gov. Andrew Cuomo doesn’t have a firm end date, but lawmakers are working “expeditiously” to conclude the probe and release a report to the public, Speaker Carl Heastie said Thursday.
Speaking in Cortland County, Heastie said that lawmakers aren’t working toward a specific date to release the report, but that they’re trying to wrap it up as soon as possible.
“I know there’s always a thirst for people to get answers right away, but I think people prefer a correct answer and a correct reporting of what happened rather than speed,” Heastie said. “We’re trying to do both, we’re trying to do it expeditiously, but also correctly.”
The investigation started in March to consider whether Cuomo should be impeached by the Assembly. But after Cuomo announced his resignation this month, Heastie said the probe would be dropped because it could be unlawful to impeach him after he leaves office.
Heastie said on Monday that, while Cuomo won’t be impeached, the Assembly would still conclude the probe and issue a report of its findings.
The investigation, which was led by the Assembly Judiciary Committee, entered a new stage this week when members began reviewing evidence collected over the last five months pertaining to alleged wrongdoing by Cuomo.
Cuomo’s resignation followed a report issued a week earlier by the Attorney General’s Office that found several claims of sexual harassment made against him to be credible.
The Assembly’s investigation covers those claims, as well as allegations that the Cuomo administration may have mishandled data related to nursing homes during the pandemic, whether he used state resources to write his book last year, and more.
Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing, and has framed the multiple investigations as politically motivated.
Heastie said Thursday that, besides informing prosecutors of any alleged criminal conduct, the probe could be used to craft new legislation that may prevent similar alleged wrongdoing in the future, like with Cuomo’s book.
“When we see what the report says, and if we see that resources were used inappropriately, we will see what we can do to make sure those types of things don’t happen,” Heastie said.
Cuomo is set to leave office Monday night, with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul scheduled to take office immediately thereafter.