WINDSOR TERRACE — Andrew Cuomo, the three-term New York governor enmeshed in a sex harassment scandal, announced his resignation from office, citing his desire to avoid being “a distraction” as the state continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
His resignation will take effect in 14 days, he said.
“I love New York. I would never want to be unhelpful in any way,” he said in an address on Aug. 10.
Cuomo, who was facing a likely impeachment trial, said a New York Assembly inquiry and a trial in the State Senate would interfere with the state’s business.
“It will consume government. It will cost taxpayers millions of dollars. It will brutalize people,” he said. “And I cannot be the cause of that,”
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will become the state’s 57th governor, and the first female to hold the post. Cuomo called her “smart and competent.”
Cuomo pledged “a seamless transition” to a Hochul administration and predicted that she will be brought “up to speed” in the efforts to deal with the coronavirus Delta variant and other pressing issues facing the state.
The best thing he could do, Cuomo said, is to “step aside and let government get back to governing.”
His resignation came after a fast-moving series of developments that followed the Aug. 3 release of a 165-page report by New York State Attorney General Letitia James that detailed accusations that Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and retaliated against one of them for going public with her allegations.
Since the release of the report, accusers came forward to publicly discuss their allegations, and the Albany County sheriff’s office said it had received a criminal complaint against Cuomo from a former executive assistant who accused him of groping her.
Cuomo’s lawyers rebutted the accusations contained in James’ report and charged that the investigators were biased against him from the start.
Just prior to his resignation announcement, Cuomo defended himself.
“The most serious allegations made against me have no credible factual basis in the report,” he said.
The governor also denied that he had deliberately done anything wrong. “I’ve never crossed the line with anyone, but I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn,” he said. He attributed his actions to his efforts to be friendly. “There is a difference between alleged improper conduct and sexual harassment,” he said.
This story is developing – more details to follow.