20:55 GMT20 April 2021
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    Andrew Cuomo, facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment, is now the subject of an impeachment investigation, with the Democrat New York governor denying all allegations of misconduct and refusing to resign, blaming the attacks against him on “cancel culture.”

    An increasingly alienated Andrew Cuomo desperately clinging on to his job as governor of New York as the sexual harassment allegations levelled against him gather steam.

    On 11 March Speaker of New York's State Assembly Carl Heastie authorised the Judiciary Committee to investigate the sexual assault allegations by at least six women against Cuomo.

    ​Here is a glimpse at how the process will unfold.

    The Assembly Judiciary Committee will start with determining the scope of the investigation, according to Ross Garber, an impeachment lawyer and professor at Tulane University School of Law, cited by ABC News.

    A report or draft articles of impeachment will be released to the Assembly after the investigation has wrapped up in the event that the Judiciary Committee determines that impeachment is warranted.

    According to the New York constitution, the 150-member state Assembly is vested with the authority to impeach officials with a simple majority vote.

    Currently, the Assembly comprises 106 Democrats, 43 Republicans, and one independent. Seventy-six votes are needed to impeach Cuomo.

    © AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite
    n this Dec. 3, 2012, file photo, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is joined by the New York Congressional delegation including, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, left, and Sen. Charles Schumer, right, for a news conference at the Capitol in Washington. Schumer and Gillibrand on Friday, March 12, 2021, are calling on Cuomo to resign, adding the most powerful Democratic voices yet to calls for the governor to leave office in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment and groping.

    Even if a majority vote were to charge Cuomo with impeachment, the charge will immediately see Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat from Buffalo, become acting governor as the case next goes to an impeachment trial.

    The latter is conducted by the 63-member state Senate, where Democrats hold 43 of the 63 seats, and the seven judges on the Court of Appeals.

    Cuomo would need to be found guilty by two-thirds of the legislative chamber. The embattled official can also be barred from holding any other public office in New York during the trial.

    The Constitution states that if convicted, the punishment is "removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any public office of honour."

    However, if Cuomo were to be acquitted, he can resume his duties as governor.

    Only one other governor was successfully impeached in the history of New York. Gov. William Sulzer was removed from office in 1913 for campaign finance fraud and perjury.

    "It is very rare to impeach a governor, very rare. In all of US history only 16 governors have been impeached and only eight of those where convicted and removed from office," says Garber. 

    Imperiled Governorship

    Blowback from the recent developments, coupled with earlier probes into the care home scandal, has resulted in the politician facing allegations of groping, sexual harassment, and inappropriate behaviour made by six women; an independent investigation into the accusations; an impeachment inquiry by state legislators; a federal investigation into his handling of nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic; and fast-evaporating support from leaders within his own party.

    ​Cuomo has refused to resign despite mounting calls from prominent Democrats.

    On Thursday, more than 50 Democratic lawmakers in New York demanded his resignation. The following day, a majority from New York's Democratic congressional delegation also sided with those seeking the resignation of the governor.

    ​Amid the scandal, Democratic President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have avoided comment on the accumulating allegations against the 56th governor of New York.

    Cuomo himself has apologised for "making anyone feel uncomfortable," while maintaining that he "never touched anyone inappropriately."

    "The only way he leaves, unless he surprises everyone and turns into a different human being, is if he is impeached," a top Democratic was quoted as saying by CNN.


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