New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned on Tuesday, days after the state’s attorney general’s investigation determined he violated the law by sexually harassing multiple women in the workplace.
Cuomo, 63, said in a tweet that his resignation will go into effect in two weeks. As The New York Times points out, Cuomo’s resignation comes as the State Assembly appeared to be more and more likely to impeach him.
“Given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to government,” he said during Tuesday’s news conference.
Cuomo: "My resignation will be effective in 14 days." pic.twitter.com/LM2n5CwsTX
— Pat Kiernan (@patkiernan) August 10, 2021
Last Tuesday, the Attorney General’s Office’s released a 165-page report which accused Cuomo of sexually harassing multiple women in the workplace, retaliating against one of his accusers for going public with her claims, and harboring a toxic work environment.
The report identified 11 accusers, including two women previously unknown to the media: a state trooper and an energy company employee. The accusers, which included nine current or former state employees, said Cuomo exhibited inappropriate behavior, including unwanted touching and kissing.
Investigators interviewed 179 witnesses and obtained 74,000 documents during their months-long probe.
Attorney General James concluded that Cuomo’s actions violated state and federal laws. She also stated that the Executive Chamber’s role in the hostile work environment rife with sexual harassment violated their own policies.
In light of the Attorney General’s report, Cuomo’s former aide, Brittany Commisso filed a criminal complaint against the governor, claiming his unwanted touching was illegal.
Allegations of sexual harassment began mounting in late February when Cuomo’s former aide, Lindsey Boylan, detailed her alleged encounters with the governor in a Medium blog post. She wrote that Cuomo “abused his power” to sexually harass her and other women in the workplace.
Boylan also recounted an instance in which Cuomo allegedly suggested they play strip poker aboard a private plane in October 2017.
Boylan, who reportedly first encountered Cuomo in January 2016, alleged he would touch her lower back, legs, and arms. Boylan wrote that she resigned in September 2018 because Cuomo’s top aides became hostile towards her for “speaking up for myself.” She said her resignation was also influenced by an instance in which Cuomo kissed her on the lips at his New York City office.
In the weeks that followed Boylan’s blog post, five more women, including at least three aides, came forward and accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. Cuomo has denied inappropriately touching anyone but apologized for behaving in a manner that made his female colleagues uncomfortable.
The mounting harassment claims prompted Cuomo to call for an independent investigation into the allegations. In March, Attorney General James appointed former acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim and veteran employment lawyer Anne Clark to lead the investigation.
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[Featured image: Andrew Cuomo/Video screengrab]