Though there has been some dissension in the Democrat ranks about whether to demand that embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) resign amid mounting accusations of sexual misconduct, a subtle – yet unmistakable – shift has occurred in recent days.
After having remained relatively quiet on the controversy for several weeks, President Joe Biden said Tuesday that if a pending investigation in Cuomo’s actions confirms his guilt, he believes not only that the governor should leave office, but also that he will “probably” face criminal prosecution, according to ABC News.
During an interview with the president, ABC’s George Stephanopoulous confirmed Biden’s expressed desire to wait for the outcome of an investigation being conducted by New York’s attorney general, but then asked what he thought should happen if the allegations against Cuomo are confirmed.
In response, Biden said that indeed, Cuomo should step down under such circumstances, adding, “I think he’ll probably end up being prosecuted, too.”
According to the New York Post, the Albany Police Department received formal notification earlier this month of a particular claim made by a former Cuomo staffer in which she said she was groped by the governor after having been summoned to the official residence to help troubleshoot a problem with his cell phone. Though the alleged victim did not file a formal complaint, the substance of the accusation would potentially leave Cuomo vulnerable to prosecution, as a source familiar with the situation told the Post.
Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett penned an op-ed earlier in March in which he echoed the idea that Cuomo may be in real legal jeopardy, at least with regard to the aforementioned allegation, and that if that claim is borne out, he must face charges, arguing:
[The conduct] suggests not only a pattern of sexual harassment by the governor, but a level of offensive conduct that appears to have crossed the legal line into felonious behavior.
Jarrett went on to explain that while multiple women have stepped forward with claims of inappropriate touching and sexual misconduct on the part of the governor, the specific claim of groping at the executive residence may “pose the most serious potential for criminal charges against Cuomo because the standard two-year statute of limitations has not run.”
Though the list of heavy hitters in the Democratic Party who have already demanded that Cuomo resign is extensive and growing, the governor, for his part, is steadfast in his refusal to go, stating that while all women have a right to be heard, “there are often many motivations for making an allegation.”
Despite his tenacity in clinging to power, it remains to be seen how much longer Cuomo can succeed in pushing back against the political walls that are rapidly closing in around him.