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Cuomo Resigns As New York Governor Amid Sexual Harassment Scandal

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at August 10, 2021

Topline

After months of pressure to resign amid mounting allegations of sexual harassment, Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that he will step down as governor of New York, with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul taking his place.

Key Facts

Cuomo announced his resignation at a Tuesday press conference, putting a sudden end to a tumultuous decade-long career that just over a year ago saw him praised as a national hero.

The 63-year-old Democrat maintained his innocence against serious allegations of sexual harassment detailed in a bombshell report released last week by the New York State Attorney General’s Office, describing the scandal as “politically motivated.”

But he acknowledged making women uncomfortable with unwanted hugs, kisses and comments, portraying some highlighted encounters as the result of “generational or cultural” differences as he “didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn.”

Cuomo, who previously appeared hellbent on staying in office, said he decided to step down because—with state lawmakers probing his impeachment and a growing number of high-profile figures calling for his resignation—“this situation by its current trajectory will generate months of political and legal controversy.”

“This is one of the most challenging times for government in a generation,” Cuomo said, explaining he believes “the best thing I can do now to help is step aside and let government get back to governing.”

The resignation will be effective in 14 days, Cuomo said, at which point he will be replaced by second-in-command Kathy Hochul, who will be the first woman to serve in the role and who said in a statement she agrees with Cuomo’s decision to step down.

Crucial Quote

“You know me, I’m a New Yorker born and bred, I’m a fighter and my instinct is to fight through this controversy because I truly believe this is politically motivated,” Cuomo said. “But when I took my oath as governor, then it changed. I became a fighter, but I became a fighter for you, and it is your best interest I serve.”

Surprising Fact

Cuomo and his personal attorney Rita Glavin disparaged the investigation overseen by New York Attorney General Letitia James and many of its key claims up until Cuomo’s resignation. Glavin held a press conference right before Cuomo’s announcement at which she attacked allegations from multiple accusers, including an aide, Brittany Commisso, who claims the governor groped her at the executive mansion last year. “This has not been a fair process. In fact, the governor has been given no process,” Glavin said.

Key Background

The tide turned for Cuomo after New York Attorney General Letitia James released the findings of her five-month investigation into him last Tuesday. The governor had previously been publicly accused of sexual harassment by multiple aides, but this report backed up allegations from 11 different women, including current and former staffers, who claimed Cuomo acted inappropriately toward them through comments, unwanted touching and more. Cuomo repeatedly and vehemently denied making inappropriate sexual advances toward any of the women, but nonetheless was met with mounting opposition and calls for his resignation, including from President Biden. The New York State Assembly expedited its impeachment investigation into Cuomo and planned to make a decision on whether to introduce articles of impeachment within the next few weeks.

What To Watch For

Cuomo still faces legal troubles: the aide accusing him of groping her has filed a criminal complaint with the Albany Sheriff’s office and another former staffer has signaled she pans to file a lawsuit. Meanwhile, the release of the attorney general’s report prompted multiple district attorney offices in New York—including Manhattan, Westchester County and Albany County—to launch criminal investigations into Cuomo. The governor is also being investigated by federal prosecutors for his administration’s handling of coronavirus-linked deaths in nursing homes.

Further Reading

“Who Is Kathy Hochul, The Woman Replacing Cuomo As New York’s Governor?” (Forbes)

“Cuomo Sexually Harassed ‘Multiple Women’ In Violation Of State And Federal Law, NY Attorney General Finds” (Forbes)

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