Lawmakers step up pressure on Cuomo to resign

Lawmakers are turning up the heat on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as the sexual harassment scandal swirling around him intensifies.

Lawyers involved in the state Legislature’s impeachment probe have given the state’s 56th governor one week to provide them with reasons he thinks he should keep his job.

As CBS New York’s Marcia Kramer reports, Cuomo isn’t going to have much time to make up his mind whether to resign or face an impeachment trial.

Sources told Kramer the Assembly Judiciary Committee is looking to wind up its probe within weeks, and the charges likely won’t be limited to sexual harassment.

The governor and his lawyers were told by Assembly impeachment investigators they have until a week from Friday to produce any evidence he intends to use to defend himself.

Lawyers told team Cuomo they want the information because their “investigation is nearing completion and the Assembly will soon consider articles of impeachment.”

Sources told CBS New York they want the governor to submit his evidence in writing because having him testify in person would create too much of a dog and pony show.

The impeachment report, sources said, isn’t expected to be limited to the findings by Attorney General Letitia James that the governor sexually harassed 11 women. It is also expected to contain findings relating to nursing home deaths and the governor’s controversial $5 million book deal.

The committee is also looking into whether the administration covered up potential structural problems on the Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge, but that part of the probe was said to be months away from completion.

“This is just a matter of time before he’s gone. If he was not such a narcissist, and he actually could think about other human beings, he would say ‘Hey, I’m doing a lot of damage at this point. It’s time to go,'” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

If the Assembly does vote for articles of impeachment, the case would go to the state Senate for trial.

Many hope it won’t come to that, because the Cuomo lawyers would face the possibility they would have to cross-examine some of the 11 women accusers and try to discredit them.

“As a former federal prosecutor looking at the evidence in this case, it’s overwhelming. You are always looking for a pattern of behavior … and in this case, all of that was present,” Long Island state Senator Todd Kaminsky said.

“Isn’t it better to resign on your own volition than get kicked out?” Queens state Senator John Liu remarked.

Liu said it wouldn’t take long for the Legislature to give the governor the boot, adding he thinks there are enough votes for impeachment in the Assembly and for conviction in the Senate, CBS New York’s Dick Brennan reported.

“It is the legislators who will decide his destiny and he’s got, frankly, very few friends here,” Liu said.

“Think about those 11 women, and what he put them through. Just out of respect for how he wronged them, and trying to atone for his sins, he should step aside,” de Blasio said. “Just get the hell out of the way. And in the end, maybe, he can close off his career with one act of dignity and decency, and just step aside.”

Cuomo told state Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs he isn’t focused on resigning and is intent on telling his side of the story. Legislators, though, say enough already.

“A lot of people gave him the benefit the doubt. The facts now are even more damning than they were a few months ago when all this started, and so I’m not sure what more there is to say on his part,” Liu said.

“If he’s not thinking about resigning, he’s thinking about self-preservation,” Democratic strategist Basil Smikle observed.

Smikle said Cuomo has to figure out key points for a possible endgame.

“Number one, ‘how long can I stay in office’ and, two, ‘whether I go out now or next year, what do I do to maintain my legacy?’ [That’s] assuming that he thinks he needs to leave, because he might not,” Smikle said.

Although the Assembly has given the governor more time to mount a defense, Common Cause New York called on the governor to resign by Friday, and for the impeachment proceedings to start Monday.