The majority of state Assembly members, which has the power to initiate impeachment proceedings against Cuomo, support his removal. A team of independent investigators, hired by the state attorney General, concluded that Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women.
Cuomo, a Democrat, has vowed to stay in office, rejecting the allegations against him as either fabricated or a misunderstanding of gestures and comments meant to convey warmth.
If the Legislature goes ahead with an impeachment, it will follow procedures that have some parallels -- and some important differences -- to the process the U.S. Congress uses for impeaching presidents.
Here are some ideas on how impeachment might look:
New York impeachments are similar to federal impeachments. They start in the lower chamber of the legislature, in this instance, the Assembly.
According to the state constitution, the Assembly may impeach officials if they are found guilty of "misconduct" or "malversation".
If a majority votes to impeach, Cuomo would be tried for removal of office in the Impeachment Court.
This court includes not only members of the state Senate but also judges of state's highest court, The Court of Appeals. They would also vote.
There are seven appeals court judges, and 63 senators. However, not all of them would be eligible to serve on the impeachment tribunal. Lt. Lt. Governor
Cuomo must be convicted by at least two-thirds vote of the jurors.
New York only once impeached its governor, in 1913 when Gov. William Sulzer was removed from office after 289 days. He claimed it was in retribution for his actions against the powerful Tammany Hall Democratic Machine.
Sulzer was accused in two cases: failing to report campaign contributions exceeding thousands of dollars and mixing campaign funds with personal funds. He criticised the secret court deliberations and said that a horse thief from frontier days would have received an even better deal.
According to some legal experts, Cuomo must immediately resign if he is impeached or sentenced to death by the Assembly.
This is a vast difference to what happens when the U.S. President is impeached.
The Lt. Governor was appointed to replace Sulzer after he was impeached. Martin Glynn was elected acting governor. Sulzer refused to accept his suspension and argued that the state constitution allowed him continue his duties until he was convicted.
Although the dispute was not settled by a court of law, Gerald Benjamin, a New York Constitution expert and SUNY New Paltz political scientist, stated that he believes the rules for impeachment are crystal clear. Cuomo would need to temporarily surrender power to Hochul.
"The constitution is clear. He remains governor until he is impeached," Benjamin said. "Once they impeach them, she (Hochul), acts as governor."
Cuomo would be reinstated to office if he was acquitted of the Impeachment Court. Hochul would continue Cuomo’s term, ending in 2022, if he is convicted. He could be disqualified by the court from future office.
What is the time frame for this? It's not obvious.
The Assembly's judiciary panel has set its next meeting for August 9. A law firm representing the committee has given Cuomo until Aug. 13 to turn over evidence to bolster his defense.
Carl Heastie, Assembly Speaker, has stated that he would like to close the investigation "as soon as possible."
However, it could take some time to draft articles of impeachment.
One problem is that when the Assembly first considered impeachment, it asked investigators to investigate a variety of other issues than sexual harassment. The lawmakers are now discussing how to handle the other parts of this inquiry. This includes Cuomo’s handling of COVID-19 deaths at nursing homes and his use of state employees to help with a $5million book deal. There is also potential safety concerns on a newly constructed bridge.
"As far I'm concerned there are a lot on the table and we'd need to see what the committee thinks articles of impeachment ought to include," stated Phil Steck, a Judiciary Committee member, a Democrat. It gets complex and I don’t see how we’re going to get this done in two hours.
The key question of whether public hearings will be held is one that has not been settled by lawmakers.
Tom Abinanti (also a Democrat) said, "Are the witnesses willing testify?" "Do the written documents back up what we are claiming? We are almost in the position of the grand jury and the prosecution. We have to decide if the evidence is sufficient and if it constitutes an impeachable offense. It's not easy.
Many elected officials in New York hope that Cuomo will spare the legislature the hassle and resign.
Cuomo has so far insisted that he's not going anywhere. Tuesday, Cuomo stated that he would continue to do more for New Yorkers even though other leaders were calling for his resignation.
"I won't be distracted from this job." Cuomo stated that there is a lot of work ahead.