New York governor Cuomo resigns as allegations of sexual harassment snowball | World News - Hindustan Times
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New York governor Cuomo resigns as allegations of sexual harassment snowball

ByYashwant Raj
Aug 10, 2021 11:01 PM IST

Kathy Hochul, a 62-year-old Democrat and former member of the US Congress, will take over from Cuomo and become the state’s first woman governor

New York state’s Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that he was resigning after days of defying growing calls for him to step aside over allegations of sexual harassment by 11 women, including current and former government employees.

A file photo of outgoing New York governor Andrew Cuomo in New York City. (AFP/FILE)
A file photo of outgoing New York governor Andrew Cuomo in New York City. (AFP/FILE)

“New York tough means New York loving. And I love New York. And I love you. And everything I have ever done has been motivated by that love,” Cuomo said, adding that the best way for him to serve New York state was to step aside. His resignation will be effective 14 days from now.

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Kathy Hochul, a 62-year-old Democrat and former member of the US Congress, will take over from Cuomo and become the state’s first woman governor.

Cuomo, a three-term governor, had gained celebrity status for his leadership and handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in New York state, which had been hit the hardest, especially when compared to then US president Donald Trump.

Last week, an independent investigation ordered by the New York state’s attorney general Letitia James found that the governor had sexually harassed the 11 women between 2013 and 2020.

Brittany Commisso, who was identified in the attorney general’s report as executive assistant No. 1 but has since come forward publicly, said Cuomo had once sexually abused her. She has publicly spoken about the episode in interviews.

Also, a state trooper assigned to Cuomo’s security detail had said the governor had once sexually misbehaved with her when they were in a lift.

The outgoing New York governor and his personal lawyer have disputed Commisso’s allegations, which she has reported to the police.

Cuomo has said that in the other charges he’s facing, he did not mean to touch the women inappropriately and that he was sorry if they felt offended.

“I take full responsibility for my actions. I have been too familiar with people,” Cuomo said in televised remarks.

“In my mind, I’ve never crossed the line with anyone,” he said, adding that he did not realise the degree to which the “line has been redrawn”.

Cuomo said his instinct was to fight, but because the allegations were mostly political and would drag on to distract the government from functioning normally, he was stepping down.

He said, “I would never want to be unhelpful in any way, and I think that given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let the government get back to government, and therefore that’s what I’ll do.”

The New York state assembly had launched an impeachment inquiry against him amid mounting calls for his resignation, including from US President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer.

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