THE NEW York State Assembly has opened an investigation into Governor Andrew Cuomo's allegations, including both claims of sexual harassment as well as his administration's handling of nursing home deaths.
Assembly speaker Carl E. Heastie made the announcement after a three-hour emergency meeting among Assemblymembers, all of whom have come to a consensus regarding what could be the state's first impeachment in over a century.
"The reports of accusations concerning the governor are serious," Heastie said in a statement.
The Assembly Speaker added that the "impeachment investigation" would include witness interviews, the subpoenaing of documents, and evaluating evidence.
The Assembly's move marks a huge shift for Cuomo, who has long been considered a bully in New York State politics, and signifies that his own party might be turning against him.
The announcement came on the same day as 59 Democrats in the State Legislature (or about 40 percent of the state's Democratic caucus between the Assembly and Senate) signed a statement demanding Cuomo's resignation.
The lawmakers signed the statement just hours after a sixth woman came forward and said the governor put his hand under her blouse and groped her last year while at the governor's mansion, where he lives.
Another accuser says Cuomo called her on her honeymoon and would often kiss her hand when she walked into his office.
Cuomo has apologized for the sexual harassment claims but vowed he "never touched anyone inappropriately."
He also made several attempts to create his own investigation until more allegations against him came out.
Many policymakers underscored the severity of such allegations within their party, saying action needed to be taken.
"I think it’s hard to be having serious conversations about moving the state in a progressive direction," said Democratic state senator Liz Kreuger. "When you don’t know when the next shoe is going to drop."
Heastie said he would not advance an impeachment without attaining a majority of Democrats in support of the move.
The practice is common given that in the 150-seat Assembly, Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than two to one.
Republicans have also pushed to impeach the governor, with the Assembly minority leader bringing forward similar calls for impeachment.
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