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Politics

Erie County lawmakers vote to support independent Cuomo investigation

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The Erie County Legislature voted Thursday to pass two resolutions, both supporting an independent investigation of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is now accused of sexual harassment by three women.

One of the resolutions was sponsored by Democrat John Gilmour, while the other was sponsored by four members of the minority caucus.

The lone no vote came from Legislator Jeanne Vinal. The Democrat suggested the resolutions were politically motivated. She added that with Attorney General Letitia James already beginning an investigation, the resolutions are unnecessary.

“The thing is going through the facts,” Vinal said. “To jump on a bandwagon, the way they did in the Central Park Five and other times when people jumped on the bandwagon immediately that there's an accusation, men and women both have the right to be heard and have the whole thing decided.”

There was little debate. The only reply to Vinal's comments came from Gilmour.

“I think it's our obligation as elected officials to speak out, and to protect those who need protecting,” he said. “I also am an attorney, I've represented several people including people that work defenses defense in case like this, I believe in due process. I'm not passing judgment on the governor I'm not saying he's guilty. All I'm asking for is a truly independent investigation.”

The Legislature also passed, by a unanimous vote, a resolution expressing that body’s support for a newly-passed State Senate bill which adjusts New York law to allow the Attorney General to initiate a criminal investigation, with no need for the governor’s approval.

The governor is currently accused by three women of inappropriate comments or conduct. Cuomo has apologized but is rebuffing calls to resign.

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