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Assembly will issue subpoenas in Cuomo impeachment probe

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at the kickoff event for construction of the National Urban League Empowerment Center in Harlem on June 17.
Don Pollard/Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at the kickoff event for construction of the National Urban League Empowerment Center in Harlem on June 17.

Subpoenas will be issued in the impeachment investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as the State Assembly continues its inquiry into allegations of sexual harassment, the state’s mishandling of nursing homes, and more against the three-term governor.

When asked by reporters for details on those subpoenas, Assembly Judiciary Chair Chuck Lavine declined to comment, saying he didn’t want to interfere with the investigation.

“I have the greatest respect for the institution of the free press, but I have no comment,” Lavine said.

He added that the firm has received more than 100,000 pages of documents to sort through as part of the inquiry, which is far-reaching and not limited to any one allegation against Cuomo.

Davis Polk & Wardwell, the law firm the Assembly is using to conduct the impeachment investigation, will also be authorized to take testimony under oath from witnesses, Lavine said.

Those decisions were made while the committee was in executive session with lawyers from the law firm for two hours. They emerged and immediately ended the meeting after announcing the changes.

Assemblymember Tom Abinanti, a Democrat from Westchester County and a member of the Judiciary Committee, said the news is a natural step forward for the committee, but that the impeachment inquiry is far from over.

“We’ve given them a huge task. There’s a lot of issues for them to look at. They’ve already received thousands and thousands of pages of documents,” Abinanti said. “They’ve already spoken to numerous witnesses. So, now they’re in the process of sorting through this.”

Neither Abinanti nor Lavine said whether the Judiciary Committee would reconvene in the near future.

Senate Republican Leader Robert Ortt said in a statement that, because subpoenas are now being issued nearly four months into the impeachment inquiry, the investigation could be perceived as buying time for Cuomo as the probe continues.

"The delay in issuing subpoenas seems to underscore the point I have made repeatedly: the Assembly investigation seems to be more focused on buying time for the Governor than truly holding him accountable and getting the answers that New Yorkers deserve," Ortt said.