New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation Tuesday over allegations he sexually harassed at least 11 women.
“The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing, and therefore, that’s what I’ll do,” Cuomo said in a televised news conference.
The three-term governor said his resignation would take effect 14 days after his announcement, which came as the state legislature mounted a campaign to remove him from office by impeachment.
Despite his announced resignation, Cuomo continued to deny he intentionally disrespected women and said the allegations were “politically motivated” attacks against him.
Cuomo will be replaced by Democratic Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a 62-year-old former member of Congress. She will be the first woman to serve as New York governor.
In a tweet, Hochul said, “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.” Hochul also said, “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.”
New York State Attorney General Letitia James said last week that Cuomo’s alleged targets were current and former employees of the state government.
The probe uncovered a “climate of fear” created by Cuomo’s behavior that included unwanted kisses, groping, hugging, and making unacceptable remarks, James said.
She said the investigation also found that the Democratic governor retaliated against at least one former employee for complaining about his actions.
The nearly five-month investigation was performed by two outside attorneys whom James hired. They spoke to 179 people, including complainants, current and former members of the governor’s office, state troopers, and other state workers.
James said the probe was launched because of the “heroic women who came forward.”