NEW YORK (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced his resignation on Tuesday over a barrage of sexual harassment allegations, in a fall from grace a 12 months after he was broadly hailed nationally for his detailed day by day briefings and management through the pandemic’s peak.
In a televised deal with, the 63-year-old Democrat emphatically denied deliberately exhibiting any disrespect towards ladies, however mentioned that combating again in opposition to what he known as the “politically motivated” assault on him would topic the state to months of turmoil, and “I can’t be the reason for that.”
“The easiest way I may also help now’s if I step apart and let authorities get again to authorities,” Cuomo mentioned.
The three-term Democratic governor’s resolution, which is able to take impact in two weeks, was introduced as momentum constructed within the State Legislature to take away him by impeachment. It got here after New York’s legal professional common launched the outcomes of an investigation that discovered Cuomo sexually harassed at the very least 11 ladies.
Investigators mentioned he subjected ladies to undesirable kisses; groped their breasts or buttocks, or in any other case touched them inappropriately; made insinuating remarks about their seems to be and their intercourse lives; and created a piece setting “rife with worry and intimidation.”
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a 62-year-old Democrat and former member of Congress from the Buffalo space, will change into the state’s 57th governor and the primary lady to carry the put up.
The #MeToo-era scandal reduce quick not only a profession however a dynasty: Cuomo’s father, Mario Cuomo, was governor within the Eighties and ’90s, and the youthful Cuomo was usually talked about as a possible candidate for president, an workplace his father famously contemplated looking for. Even because the scandal mushroomed, Cuomo was planning to run for reelection in 2022.
Cuomo nonetheless faces the potential of prison fees, with plenty of prosecutors across the state transferring to research him.
The string of accusations that spelled the governor’s downfall started to unfold in information studies final December and went on for months.
Cuomo known as among the allegations fabricated, forcefully denying he touched anybody inappropriately. However he acknowledged making some aides uncomfortable with feedback he mentioned he supposed as playful, and he apologized for a few of his habits.
He portrayed among the encounters as misunderstandings attributable to “generational or cultural” variations, a reference partially to his upbringing in an affectionate Italian-American household.
As a defiant Cuomo clung to workplace, state lawmakers launched an impeachment investigation, and practically your complete Democratic institution in New York abandoned him — not solely over the accusations, but in addition due to the invention that his administration had hid hundreds of COVID-19 deaths amongst nursing dwelling sufferers.
The harassment investigation ordered up by the legal professional common and performed by two outdoors legal professionals corroborated the ladies’s accounts and added lurid new ones.
The discharge of the report left the governor extra remoted than ever, with a few of his most loyal supporters abandoning him and United States President Joe Biden becoming a member of these calling on him to resign.
His accusers included an aide who mentioned Cuomo groped her breast on the governor’s mansion. Investigators additionally discovered that the governor’s workers retaliated in opposition to one in every of his accusers by leaking confidential personnel information about her.
As governor, Cuomo touted himself for instance of a “progressive Democrat” who will get issues carried out: Since taking workplace in 2011, he helped push by laws that legalized homosexual marriage, started lifting the minimal wage to $15 and expanded paid household go away advantages. He additionally backed large infrastructure initiatives, together with airport overhauls and building of a brand new bridge over the Hudson River that he named after his father.
On the similar time the habits that obtained him into bother was occurring, he was publicly championing the #MeToo motion and surrounding himself with ladies’s rights activists, signing into regulation sweeping new protections in opposition to sexual harassment and lengthening the statute of limitations in rape circumstances.
His nationwide reputation soared through the harrowing spring of 2020, when New York turned the epicenter of the nation’s coronavirus outbreak.
His tough-minded however empathetic response made for riveting tv nicely past New York, and his stern warnings to folks to remain dwelling and put on masks stood in sharp distinction to US President Donald Trump’s brush-off of the virus. His briefings gained a global Emmy Award, and he went on to put in writing a guide on management in a disaster.
However even these accomplishments have been quickly tainted when it was realized that the state’s official rely of nursing dwelling deaths had excluded many sufferers who had been transferred to hospitals earlier than they succumbed. A Cuomo aide acknowledged the administration feared the true numbers can be “used in opposition to us” by the Trump White Home.
Additionally, Cuomo’s administration was fiercely criticized for forcing nursing properties to simply accept sufferers recovering from the virus.
The US Justice Division is investigating the state’s dealing with of information on nursing dwelling deaths. As well as, the state legal professional common is trying into whether or not Cuomo broke the regulation in utilizing members of his workers to assist write and promote his guide, from which he stood to make greater than $5 million.
The governor had additionally more and more come underneath fireplace over his tough and generally vindictive therapy of fellow politicians and his personal workers, with former aides telling tales of a brutal work setting.
Cuomo has been divorced since 2005 from the writer and activist Kerry Kennedy, a member of the Kennedy household, and was romantically concerned up till 2019 with TV life-style character Sandra Lee. He has three grownup daughters.
Throughout his resignation speech, he instantly addressed his daughters, saying: “I would like them to know, from the underside of my coronary heart: I by no means did, and I by no means would, deliberately disrespect a girl or deal with a girl in another way than I’d need them handled. Your dad made errors. And he apologized. And he realized from it. And that’s what life is all about.”
He gained political expertise early on as his father’s hard-nosed and infrequently ruthless marketing campaign supervisor, and went on to change into New York legal professional common and US housing secretary underneath President Invoice Clinton earlier than getting elected governor in 2010.
New York has seen a string of high-level political figures introduced down in shame in recent times.
Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned in 2008 in a call-girl scandal. Rep. Anthony Weiner went to jail for sexting with a 15-year-old lady. Lawyer Normal Eric Schneiderman stepped down in 2018 after 4 ladies accused him of abuse. And the highest two leaders within the State Legislature have been convicted of corruption.