New York Assembly OKs subpoenas in Cuomo impeachment probe

Lawmakers are probing a litany of allegations made against Cuomo on subjects ranging from sexual harassment to the governor’s $5.1 million book deal.

New York Assembly OKs subpoenas in Cuomo impeachment probe

ALBANY, N.Y. — A state Assembly committee looking into a possible impeachment of Gov. Andrew Cuomo will begin issuing subpoenas as part of its investigation.

Assemblymember Charles Lavine (D-Nassau), who chairs the chamber's Judiciary Committee, made the announcement at the end of a meeting in Albany on Wednesday.

The subpoenas will likely be sent to “a whole wide range of categories of people,” Assemblymember Tom Abinanti (D-Greenburgh) said after the meeting. “This is the next step in the process, it’s a normal step, we all expected this was going to happen.”

Additionally, members have taken the technical step of issuing a commission to the law firm of Davis Polk, which the Assembly has retained to handle much of the probe. That step “allows our independent counsel to take testimony under oath,” Lavine said.

The Assembly launched its investigation of Cuomo in March. It is probing a litany of allegations made against Cuomo on subjects ranging from sexual harassment to the governor’s $5.1 million book deal.

State Attorney General Tish James is examining several similar issues. She started issuing subpoenas in March.

James said last week that she does not “share information” with the Assembly investigators. But Abinanti said on Wednesday that the granting of a commission to Davis Polk opens up that possibility, “because now they are authorized to subpoena the same information the attorney general’s office is subpoenaing … so I would assume the attorney general’s office would feel more comfortable cooperating with our counsel.”

Wednesday’s meeting was notable as the Assembly’s first mostly in-person committee meeting since state government shut down in March 2020. Since Cuomo ended New York’s state of emergency last week, the Legislature is now fully subjected to the Open Meetings Law, and the public was allowed into the room in the state Capitol for five minutes. The remainder of the roughly two-hour gathering took place in executive session.

Does the issuing of subpoenas mean that the investigation of Cuomo is nearing an end?

“Oh no, not yet, no no,” Abinanti said. “Let’s face it, we’ve given [Davis Polk] a huge task. There’s a lot of issues for them to look at.”