ALBANY, New York — A group of 59 Democratic state legislators demanded New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation Thursday in the wake of an allegation that he groped an aide at the Executive Mansion last year.
The letter released by the group comes as Cuomo’s grip on power in the state appeared increasingly tenuous. The top Democrat in the state Assembly, Speaker Carl Heastie, said he will meet with members in conference today on “potential paths forward” in light of mounting allegations.
In New York, the Assembly is the legislative house that could move to impeach Cuomo, who has faced multiple allegations that he made the workplace an uncomfortable place for young women with sexually suggestive remarks and behavior, including unwanted touching and a kiss.
The Times Union of Albany reported Wednesday that an unidentified aide had claimed Cuomo reached under her shirt and fondled her after summoning her to his official residence.
Nineteen senators and 40 Assembly members said in a letter Thursday that it was time for Cuomo to go.
“In light of the Governor’s admission of inappropriate behavior and the findings of altered data on nursing home COVID-19 deaths he has lost the confidence of the public and the state legislature, rendering him ineffective in this time of most urgent need,” the letter said. “It is time for Governor Cuomo to resign.”
Cuomo has repeatedly said he won’t resign and urged the public to await the outcome of an investigation of his conduct by state Attorney General Letitia James. Cuomo’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Cuomo has denied inappropriately touching anyone but has said he is sorry if he made anyone uncomfortable and didn’t intend to do so.
In the newest allegation against Cuomo, the Times Union of Albany reported that the governor had summoned the aide to his Albany mansion, saying he needed help with his cellphone. After she arrived, Cuomo closed the door, reached under her shirt and fondled her, the newspaper reported.
The newspaper’s reporting was based on an unidentified source with knowledge of the woman’s accusation, who said she first told the story to someone on Cuomo’s staff in recent days. The newspaper hadn’t spoken to the woman and didn’t identify her.
“I have never done anything like this,” Cuomo said through a spokesperson Wednesday evening.
“The details of this report are gut-wrenching,” Cuomo said, adding that he would not speak to the specifics of this or any other allegation, given an ongoing investigation overseen by the state attorney general.
Several other women who worked for the governor in Albany or during his time in former President Bill Clinton’s Cabinet, and one who met him briefly at a wedding, have also complained of inappropriate conduct.
The state Assembly has 150 members. It could convene an impeachment trial against Cuomo with a simple majority vote. Until the new allegations surfaced, most of its members appeared to be leaning against trying to convene an impeachment or demanding Cuomo’s resignation until the attorney general’s investigation was complete.
The state Senate, which would join with members of the state’s top appeals court to hold an impeachment trial, has 63 members.
Story by Marina Villeneuve.