What's Next For New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo? Legal Threats, Possible Impeachment

Cuomo resigned Tuesday following a report by New York Attorney General Letitia James that concluded he "sexually harassed multiple women." Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will now be the first female governor of New York

Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his plans to resign Tuesday following a report issued by New York State Attorney General Letitia James that concluded that the governor "sexually harassed multiple women."

Even after announcing his resignation — a move that reportedly may have helped him avoid impeachment — Cuomo, 63, still faces ongoing criminal investigations, and a possible lawsuit one of his accusers vowed to file.

Legal Problems

James's report concluded that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, violating both state and federal law.

Five New York prosecutors have indicated that they would be opening investigations into the governor's alleged harassment that occurred in their districts, reports The New York Times.

In addition, Brittany Commisso, Cuomo's former assistant and one of the women accusing Cuomo of sexual harassment, filed a criminal report against the governor with the Albany County sheriff's office, which has said it will will undertake a criminal investigation based on her complaint, reports CBS News.

If Cuomo is charged, he faces misdemeanor charges of forcible touching or third-degree sexual abuse or both, reports The City.


Lindsey Boylan, a former Cuomo aide and the first woman to publicly accuse him of sexual harassment, plans on suing him and some senior staffers for retaliation, citing the New York attorney general report's determination that Cuomo and his office retaliated against her after she went public, her attorney told ABC News.

Cuomo and his aides have vigorously denied Boylan's account. "As we said before, Ms. Boylan's claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false," spokeswoman Catilin Girouard has said in an earlier statement.

"I think he faces a greater threat from the civil lawsuits than he does from the criminal ones, but I may be underestimating the power of this moment to convince prosecutors," Rebecca Roiphe, a professor at New York Law School and a former Manhattan prosecutor, tells The New York Times.

Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo. Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Other Legal Issues

Cuomo is the target two other investigations — a federal investigation into whether or not he and his aides provided false data on the number of deaths due to the coronavirus in nursing homes to the U.S. Justice Department, and an investigation by the New York Attorney General into whether he used state resources to write his pandemic memoir.


Cuomo's resignation headed off likely impeachment, reports the Washington Post, but New York Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Lavine told the newspaper Monday that even if the governor resigns, a state senate impeachment trial could prevent him from ever holding office in New York.

On Monday, the New York State Assembly had met to "lay the groundwork for impeachment proceedings against him," reports the Times, which notes that it's now unclear if it will move forward.

Yuh-Line Niou, a Democrat and Assembly member, tweeted a statement that said impeachment is still "an appropriate and necessary step," even after Cuomo's resignation.

Other lawmakers told the Times that a decision on whether to impeach will soon be made. Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, a Democrat on the judiciary committee said, "we are going to meet as a committee sometime in the next couple of days and determine the next steps in this process."

Transfer of Power

When Cuomo's resignation goes into effect in 14 days, Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul becomes the first female governor of New York State, and Cuomo vowed he will work to make it a "seamless" transfer of power.

Kathy Hochul
Kathy Hochul. Andrew Burton/Getty

In a statement Hochul tweeted soon after the resignation was announced, she said:

"I agree with Governor Cuomo's decision to step down. It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers. As someone who has served at all levels of government and is next in the line of succession, I am prepared to lead as New York State's 57th Governor."

Hochul, 62, will serve out the rest of the term through the next election, in November 2022.

Two Women in Charge

For the first time in New York State history, two women are expected to hold the highest political positions, reports CNN.

When Hochul becomes governor, New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins will become lieutenant governor, until Hochul names her own replacement, the outlet reports.

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