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AP’s tally of lawmakers: Cuomo was almost certain to be impeached

In this image taken from video provided by Office of the NY Governor, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes a statement on a pre-recorded video released, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, in New York. An investigation into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has found that he sexually harassed multiple current and former state government employees. State Attorney General Letitia James announced the findings Tuesday. (Office of the NY Governor via AP )

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Reporters Marina Villeneuve, David Klepper, Michael Catalini and Jennifer Peltz made AP first to report authoritatively that a majority of New York lawmakers favored removing Gov. Andrew Cuomo from office in the days before he resigned.

As soon as New York’s attorney general released a report concluding that Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women — and with Cuomo appearing to resist top Democrats’ calls for his resignation — the AP journalists began working the phones and reviewing social media postings, pressing to get every member of the Assembly on the record about whether they would move to impeach Cuomo.

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New York State Attorney General Letitia James speaks at a news conference in New York, Aug. 3, 2021, announcing that an investigation found New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women and worked to retaliate against one of the accusers. – AP Photo / Ted Shaffrey

By midday on Aug. 4, a day after the report’s release, their tally of lawmakers favoring impeachment had climbed to 86, allowing AP to move an alert saying that more than half of the body’s 150 members favored initiating the process of ousting Cuomo — more than the simple majority needed to authorize an impeachment trial. Peltz crafted the findings and other developments into a newsmaking story about the governor’s perilous position, and over the next few days the team continued updating their tally as it climbed to nearly two-thirds of the Assembly.

The reporting was widely used by online, print and broadcast members, with CBS reading the report on air and CNN crediting the AP’s work.

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