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Politics

Assemblyman Tannousis on His Role in Cuomo Impeachment Investigation

STATEN ISLAND, NY – Greek-Cypriot-American New York State Assemblyman Michael Tannousis was featured in the Staten Island Advance/SILive.com on August 5 for his role in the impeachment investigation of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

He was appointed to the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee in December and “the first-year lawmaker and former prosecutor was one of 21 legislators tasked in March with the impeachment investigation into Governor Cuomo — a probe that is rapidly reaching its conclusion following the release of a damning report by Attorney General Leticia James this week,” SILive reported.

Tannousis, “a Republican representing the East Shore, is in the legislature’s minority party, but is one of a majority of members in the New York Assembly who supports impeachment if Cuomo doesn’t take steps to resign,” SILive reported.

“He needs to do the right thing by New Yorkers and resign,” Tannousis told the Advance/SILive.com on August 5. “I commend the women who came forward to share their experiences, and as a former prosecutor, I know how difficult it is to do that.”

On August 4, “James’ office published a report based on a months-long independent investigation into the governor’s alleged sexual improprieties with members of his staff and the general public,” SILive reported, adding that “the report paints a picture of a governor who repeatedly abused his power in situations ranging from times he made women uncomfortable to more serious allegations of sexual harassment and groping.”

“This is a sad day for New York because independent investigators have concluded that Governor Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and, in doing so, broke the law,” James, a Democrat, said on August 4, SILive reported. “No man — no matter how powerful — can be allowed to harass women or violate our human rights laws, period.”

“Tannousis, who worked as a prosecutor in Staten Island and the Bronx, said he believes what’s alleged in the report amounts to criminality,” SILive reported, noting that “district attorneys in Manhattan, Albany, Westchester, and Nassau counties have announced that their offices would request materials from James’ office regarding the Cuomo investigation.”

“The report released by the attorney general [Tuesday] was troublesome and appalling, in that it obviously demonstrates a pattern,” Tannousis told SILive. “That’s why I commend the women who bravely came forward, because, as a former prosecutor, I know how difficult it is to share those types of experiences.”

In response to the report, “the embattled governor published a 14-minute, 21-second, pre-taped statement Tuesday denying the allegations made against him, suggesting one of his alleged victims had misinterpreted his intentions, and offering an explanation of cultural differences in instances of his unwanted affection,” SILive reported.

“It has been a hard and a painful period for me and my family, especially as others feed ugly stories to the press,” Cuomo said, SILive reported. “I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.”

“The Associated Press published a report Wednesday that found 86 of the Assembly’s 150 members are prepared to impeach the governor following the completion of the Assembly Judiciary Committee’s inquiry,” SILive reported, adding that “only a simple majority is needed to impeach.”

On August 5, “the committee’s chair, Assemblyman Charles Lavine (D-Long Island) wrote to Cuomo’s attorneys informing them that their inquiry was nearing its end and that they’d soon be considering articles of impeachment against the governor,” and “asked that any materials Cuomo wished to share be given to the committee by Aug. 13,” SILive reported.

“When the impeachment investigation was announced in March, Tannousis said his prosecutorial experience had prepared him for the moment, despite his newness in office,” SILive reported.

“Although I was elected last November, I’m a veteran prosecutor that has conducted countless investigations throughout my career,” he said, SILive reported, adding that “Tannousis also talked about using his experience to analyze evidence and interview witnesses as part of a transparent and thorough investigation.”

“This impeachment inquiry into the long list of allegations against the governor is essential to preserving the rule of law and ensuring justice,” he said in March, SILive reported. “The volume and severity of the claims against the governor have necessitated our legislative duty to investigate and, if necessary, impeach the governor.”

“In addition to their own look at the governor’s alleged sexual improprieties, Tannousis said Thursday that the committee’s independent investigation is looking at a number of other scandals that have embroiled the governor since earlier this year, including his administration’s nursing home decision in the early days of the pandemic and his 2020 book deal,” SILive reported, noting that “the former prosecutor said he believes that ultimately the legislature would hold the governor accountable for his alleged actions.”

“I’m confident that the residents of our state will soon see accountability from our state government and I’ll ensure that their voices are heard,” Tannousis told SILive.

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