On Tuesday, Assembly Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Lavine warned the public that “given the breadth and seriousness of the issues under investigation,” the investigation will most likely take “months, rather than weeks.”
Given the intensity and intricacy of the case against Governor Andrew Cuomo, Lavine speculated that the impeachment probe may take as long as months, considering the fact that some of the sexual harassment victims are also to refrain from cooperating with the investigation. The Assembly Judiciary Committee members o Tuesday, met with the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell for the first time and questioned lawyers for around 90 minutes. Many of the concerns raised were centered around potential conflicts of interest.
Assemblyman Lavine laid out the broad scope of what this investigation will examine, including whether the governor misrepresented nursing home data, sexually harassed or assaulted female employees, and whether his staff withheld safety information about state bridges. “Due process is not just a preset. It is not just at the heart of what makes us New Yorkers tick. It’s at the heart of our American democracy as well,” Assemblyman Lavine said.
In response to the law firm questioning, lawyers repeatedly tried to assure members that there was no conflict of interest and said they followed a “very robust process” within the firm. “We do a search throughout the firm and through our management committee to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest that would either as a matter of ethics or appearance create an issue,” Angela Burgess, one of the lawyers with Davis Polk, explained. “We embarked on that process here and concluded that there was no conflict.”
As part of an effort to increase transparency, lawmakers also asked to receive weekly updates from the law firm and they will be setting up a hotline for tips. This being said, at this point, there is no deadline for when documents or witness testimony needs to be submitted. “In terms of deadlines, we’ll work with as much speed as we can with the understanding that we’ll be thorough and fair in gathering those documents,” Greg Andres, a lawyer for Davis Polk, who also worked on the Mueller probe into the Trump administration said. “So the short answer is there won’t be a particular deadline necessarily but we’ll try to get those documents as quickly as possible.”