New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned on Tuesday in the wake of a series of allegations that he had sexually harassed a number of his staffers and created a more- than-difficult work environment in his offices.
The resignation marks a sharp downfall for Cuomo, a Democrat who had received high marks for his calm demeanor and confident guidance of the state through the coronavirus pandemic.
A number of women have come forward and said that Cuomo touched and spoke to them in ways that made them uncomfortable. One, a former executive assistant to the governor, has filed a criminal complaint in Albany County, charging that he groped her breast.
New York state Attorney General Letitia James's office this month released a report that said an investigation found the governor had sexually harassed a number of women.
Cuomo has denied the criticism and allegations. He said in a statement after the James report was released that "I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances."
Cuomo's attorney, Rita Glavin, said in a statement carried by The Washington Post that the James report "got key facts wrong, it omitted key evidence, and it failed to include witnesses who did not support the narrative that it was clear this investigation was going to weave from day one."
Cuomo's resignation will be effective in two weeks. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, 62 years old and also a Democrat, will become the state’s 57th governor and the first woman in the post.
Hochul is an attorney who represented New York's 26th congressional district, including Buffalo, for one term, from 2011 to 2013.
Cuomo named her lieutenant governor beginning in 2015. She will now serve out the rest of Cuomo's term until the next election in November 2022.
Cuomo, 63, was in his third term as governor and had said a year ago that he would run for a fourth. He is the son of Mario Cuomo, who was governor of New York from 1983 through 1994.
Andrew Cuomo also served New York state attorney general from 2007 through 2010. He was secretary of housing and urban development under President Bill Clinton.
The New York State Legislature had been increasing its efforts to impeach the governor in the wake of the James report.
Cuomo still faces the prospect of criminal charges against him. A number of local district attorneys in the state are reportedly seeking more information from the state's inquiry.