Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced his resignation Tuesday afternoon in the wake of multiple sex-harassment charges and the threat of impeachment.
He said his resignation, leaving his third term unfinished, would take effect in 14 days.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will step in to complete his term.
He cited the expected length of time for impeachment to proceed and cost as among the reasons he would step down. "Government needs to function today. It need to perform. It is a matter of life and death," he said.
"It has been the honor of my lifetime," to serve as New York governor, he said.
After his statement, he listed a variety of accomplishments during his terms of office, from battling the high rate of Covid-19 infection to free college tuition to marriage equality, gun safety and numerous infrastructure projects.
He was accused of harassing at least 11 women who worked in his administration, according to a report issued last week by the state Attorney General's Office.
The report said he had created a hostile workplace environment and had retaliated against a whistleblower, and that he had broken state and federal laws against harassment.
The report by Attorney General Letitia Jamess said,"..We find that the Governor sexually harassed a number of current and former New York State employees by, among other things, engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching, as well as making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women. Our investigation revealed that the Governor’s sexually harassing behavior was not limited to members of his own staff, but extended to other State employees, including a State Trooper on his protective detail and members of the public. We also conclude that the Executive Chamber’s culture—one filled with fear and intimidation, while at the same time normalizing the Governor’s frequent flirtations and gender-based comments—contributed to the conditions that allowed the sexual harassment to occur and persist. That culture also influenced the improper and inadequate ways in which the Executive Chamber has responded to allegations of harassment.”
Cuomo, shortly after James’ report was released, denied he had done anything inappropriate, and defended his behavior as innocent.
Political leaders, from President Joe Biden to local elected officials, had called in recent days for him to step down.
He is also facing possible criminal charges in at least one case.
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