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For the remainder of Cuomo's term, the state will be governed by the current lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that he will leave office after a state investigation found that he sexually harassed 11 women and oversaw an illegal attempt to impose retaliation against one of his victims.
According to local media the resignation also responds to an effort to avoid the imminent impeachment trial in the State Assembly. "Spending energy on distractions is the last thing state government should be doing. And I can't be the cause of that," the Democrat asserted.
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced last Tuesday the results of her investigation into the allegations against the governor.
The investigation concluded that there was sexual harassment of several current and former female employees of the state. In particular, the high-ranking official allegedly made unwanted and non-consensual touching.
President Joe Biden himself, speaking to reporters after seeing the outcome of the investigation, said: "I think he should resign. I'm sure there were some totally innocent hugs, but the attorney general decided that others were not."
These statements were echoed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a strong advocate for survivors of sexual assault.
I agree with Governor Cuomo's decision to step down. It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers.
As someone who has served at all levels of government and is next in the line of succession, I am prepared to lead as New York State’s 57th Governor.
In his remarks as he tendered his resignation in a videotape, the governor stated that "in my mind, I never crossed the line with anyone, but I didn't realize it. There are generational and cultural changes that I just didn't fully appreciate, and I should have no excuses."
Cuomo's popularity skyrocketed last year over differences with then-President Donald Trump over the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the verbal exchanges between the two were taking place over demands to the federal government for better care for New York which became the epicenter of the pandemic.
The three-term governor's decision will take effect in two weeks, and Cuomo will be replaced by Lieutenant Governor and Democrat Kathy Hochul, who will be New York's first female governor and will serve out the remainder of the term until the next election in November 2022.