Photo provided courtesy of Unsplash.com.
By Josh Larkin, Staff Writer
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has come under fire yet again. In the timespan of just a few months, Governor Cuomo has gone from a revered voice of governing during COVID-19, to rock bottom with increased calls for his resignation or impeachment. The fall began when New York Attorney General Tish James produced a report alleging that Governor Cuomo falsified the number of COVID-19 death in nursing homes. As Attorney General James’ report gained traction, Governor Cuomo then began to be accused of sexual harassment by seven different women.
The first to come forth was Lindsey Boylan, a former Cuomo aide, who accused Cuomo of “sexual harassment and bullying” her with inappropriate comments, suggesting that the two should play strip poker, and kissing her on the mouth without consent.
The second accusation came from Charlotte Bennett, another former aide to Cuomo. Bennett claimed Governor Cuomo asked her about her sexual life and whether she had ever engaged in sexual acts with an older man. Bennett believed that Cuomo was trying “to sleep with me” and reported his comments to Cuomo’s chief of staff as early as last summer.
Anna Ruch, the third to accuse the Governor, contended that Cuomo put his hands on her lower back, then on her cheeks and asked to kiss her in 2019.
The fourth woman, Karen Hinton, a former press aide, claimed Cuomo invited her to his “dimly lit” hotel room, embraced her tightly and then pulled her back into his embrace when she tried leaving back in 2000.
Another former Cuomo aide, Ana Liss, stated that the Governor asked her multiple times if she had a boyfriend, touched her lower back and kissed her hand as she arose from her desk while working for Cuomo between 2013 and 2015.
The sixth allegation came from a female executive chamber staffer that claimed she was invited to the Governor’s mansion to help him with a cellphone issue, only to have the Governor reach under her blouse and grope her. This woman claimed that she only came forward after Cuomo held a press conference in March where he claimed that he had never inappropriately touched anyone.
The seventh woman is a former Albany statehouse reporter who claims Cuomo “gripped her tightly as she went to say goodbye,” then “held [her] firmly in place while indicating to a photographer he wanted us to pose for a picture.”
Following the first accusations, Attorney General James appointed Joon Kim and Anne Clark to lead an investigation into the Governor’s alleged acts. Kim was a deputy for former United States Attorney Preet Bahara, who investigated Governor Cuomo’s administration regarding its choice to shut down a commission charged with looking into corruption of the New York state government a few years ago. Kim and Clark will report their findings to Attorney General James’ office weekly, however, they will not be required to inform Cuomo’s office their findings. The final report of the investigation will be released to the public once finalized. Governor Cuomo has stated that he is “confident in the [pending] result of [James’] report.”
Despite the Governor’s confidence, there are some that see potential trouble for the Governor. Many have called for Cuomo to resign, including U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Others, such as Eric Lane, a law professor at Hofstra University and former counsel to New York Democrats, have said Cuomo could face impeachment if the investigation finds criminal behavior. This would be rare for New York, as the only governor of the state who was impeached before was William Sulzer in 1913.
The New York Constitution lays out the groundwork for impeachment. The constitution states that the assembly has the power to impeach by a two-third majority vote. The trial for impeachments is composed of “the president of the senate, the senators, or the major part of them, and the judges of the court of appeals, or the major part of them.” For an impeachment against the governor, both the lieutenant-governor and the temporary president of the senate are prohibited from acting as a member of the court. If the governor were removed from office, the lieutenant-governor takes the role of governor for the remainder of the term. In the case of Governor Cuomo, Lieutenant-Governor Kathy Hochul would become the state’s governor for the remainder of Cuomo’s term. When the lieutenant-governor’s office is vacant, the temporary president of the senate takes on the duties of lieutenant-governor. This would mean Andrea Stewart-Cousins would accept the responsibilities of New York lieutenant-governor.
Under the New York Constitution, there could be a great extent of moving pieces if Attorney General James concludes that the Governor did act inappropriately with any of his accusers. Governor Cuomo maintains his innocence, but these accusations alone could make his candidacy for a fourth term as governor anything but easy.
 N.Y. Const. art. VI, § 24
 N.Y. Const. art. IV, § 5
 N.Y. Const. art. IV, § 6