The lawmaker who is currently overseeing the New York State Assembly’s impeachment investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently penned a letter and mailed it out to the state’s chief executive on Wednesday, issuing him a warning against intimidation.
Charles Lavine, the chairman of the chamber’s Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Cuomo through email. The committee is currently looking to whether or not grounds for impeachment exist due to a number of issues, including sexual misconduct and his $5 million book deal.
The letter from Lavine comes after a March 15 correspondence in which he warned Cuomo and those associated with him against engaging in intimidation or retaliation against complaints and potential witnesses.
“It is therefore difficult for me to comprehend your communications director tweeting that Attorney General [Letitia ] James, whose office is conducting a parallel investigation, ‘says she may run against the governor,'” Lavine stated in the letter written on Wednesday. “It is obvious that attempts to demean the Attorney General serve as well to undermine the investigation and send profoundly negative signals to witnesses.”
“It is critically important to realize that any such comment may merit severe repercussions. You will recall language in my mom retaliation/intimidation notice of March 15: ‘Any such actions on your behalf sends a chilling signal to any potential witnesses and such conduct may be considered by the Committee as an attempt to suppress other complainants and witnesses from coming forward,'” he said.
Lavine’s letter came after Cuomo communications director Rich Azzopardi publicly suggested James’ investigation is politically motivated, Spectrum News reported. James has not indicated plans to run for governor.
Azzopardi also has denounced investigation leaks, including news last week that Cuomo would sit for an interview with investigators.
Cuomo administration acting counsel Beth Garvey said Azzopardi’s comments fall under free speech.
“There is a clear difference between actionable retaliation and protected speech and it is clear that the Chairman doesn’t understand the difference,” Garvey said in a statement, Spectrum News went on to say in its report. “We will have a formal response forthcoming.”
Back on June 30, the Judiciary Committee made the announcement that it would begin issuing subpoenas as part of the investigation into the potential impeachment of Gov. Cuomo.
According to Lavine, an independent law firm had put together more than 100,000 pages of records and was also looking for additional information to help corroborate other evidence that exists.
He went on to add that a lot of progress has been made concerning the investigation, though he did not say or indicate when the probe would be over.
“I am very pleased with the continued progress of the investigation,” Lavine went on to say. “The purpose of this process is to both gather substantive evidence, as well as to assess the credibility and corroborate information learned during interviews.”
Here’s a few of the allegations against Cuomo that led to this investigation:
- Claims Cuomo illegally used staff to help him write and promote a book about the coronavirus pandemic.
- Whether Cuomo helped family and friends obtain COVID testing early on in the pandemic, when such tests were difficult to get
- Whether Cuomo and his staff hid actual number of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes.