New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that he will resign from office, effective in two weeks.
At a press conference today, the disgraced governor said he is “stepping aside” from his office amidst his sexual harassment scandal. Cuomo reiterated his narrative of innocence during his speech, calling the impeachment investigation “politically motivated,” but explaining that he was stepping down because he “never wants to be unhelpful in any way.”
“I’m a New Yorker, born and bred,” he said. “I’m a fighter and my instinct is to fight through this controversy because I truly believe it is politically motivated, I believe it is unfair and it is untruthful and I believe it demonizes behavior that is unsustainable for society.”
Cuomo also added that he is “very proud of the fact that I have more women in senior positions than any governor before me.”
Cuomo’s decision to leave his office comes just one week after an investigative report by New York Attorney General Letitia James concluded that the governor sexually harassed 11 women. Named accusers include Lindsey Boylan, Charlotte Bennett, Karen Hinton, and Brittany Commisso, who are former assistants and aides of the governor.
Allegations include unsolicited kissing, touching, and sexually suggestive remarks. Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said during a news conference today that the governor could face multiple misdemeanor charges following the more serious allegations Commisso made during a Monday CBS This Morning interview.
Members of the New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee told CNN that the committee’s lawyers are exploring whether they can still impeach Cuomo. The committee is investigating the sexual harassment allegations, the cover-up of COVID-19 nursing home deaths, the use of state resources for personal gain, and allegations of concealing information on damaged bridge bolts on the Mario Cuomo Bridge.
Though Cuomo vehemently denied all allegations, claiming the women misinterpreted his jokes, hugs, and kisses on the cheek, fellow Democratic politicians and once faithful supporters have been calling for his resignation. The wave of Democratic condemnation included rebukes from New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand in March, and recent calls for his resignation from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden.
Several prominent female figures implicated in enabling Cuomo’s abuse also resigned just days before he quit. Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, announced her resignation Sunday night. She said that “the past two years have been emotionally and mentally trying.”
DeRosa was a trusted confidant to the governor who came under scrutiny along with Cuomo for allegedly covering up New York COVID nursing home data and creating a toxic work environment. DeRosa allegedly led efforts to discredit and deny the sexual harassment accusations Boylan brought against Cuomo in December.
Roberta Kaplan, a prominent lawyer and chairwoman of Time’s Up, the Hollywood charity for sexual assault survivors, also resigned from her position on Monday after she was found to have reviewed a draft of a disparaging op-ed aimed to discredit one of Cuomo’s accusers. Kaplan called Cuomo’s alleged behavior a “betrayal” in her resignation letter. “Even our apparent allies in the fight to advance women can turn out to be abusers,” she said.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will replace Cuomo, and become the first female governor of New York.
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