New York: After the announcement of the resignation of New York governor Andrew Cuomo over sexual harassment allegations from 11 women, reports suggest that the reins of the United States of America's fourth-most populous state will be handed over to Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. If the reports come true, Hochul will become New York's first-ever female governor.
On Tuesday, the 63-year-old Democrat Andrew Cuomo had said that his resignation will be effective in 14 days in a televised message.
Announcing his resignation, Governor Cuomo said that the State Assembly on Monday outlined the weeks of the process that will then lead to months of litigation and "time and money that government should spend managing COVID, guarding against the Delta variant, reopening-up state, fighting gun violence, and saving New York City, all that time would be wasted."
Cuomo also added that this is one of the "most challenging times" for government in a generation. He also added that wasting energy on distractions is the last thing that State Government should be doing and he cannot be the cause of that.
The decision comes a week after independent investigators appointed by New York Attorney General Letitia James released their report which concluded that Cuomo "did sexually harass multiple women — including former and current state employees — by engaging in unwanted groping, kissing, and hugging, and making inappropriate comments."
According to the report, the governor and his senior staff took action to retaliate against at least one former employee for coming forward with her story. Cuomo's Executive Chamber fostered a "toxic" workplace that enabled "harassment to occur and created a hostile work environment."
The investigators found that Cuomo's actions and those of the Executive Chamber violated multiple state and federal laws, as well as the Executive Chamber's own written policies.
The investigators also found that Cuomo's Executive Chamber was "rife with fear and intimidation" that and also "created a hostile work environment overall."
The investigation was conducted after, on March 1, 2021, the Executive Chamber made a referral for James to select independent lawyers to investigate "allegations of and circumstances surrounding sexual harassment claims made against the governor."
It was from December 2020, multiple women came forward with allegations that Cuomo sexually harassed them. Over the course of the investigation, the investigators interviewed 179 individuals, including complainants, current and former members of the Executive Chamber, State Troopers, additional state employees, and others who interacted regularly with the governor.
In a press statement, the Attorney General's office said that more than 74,000 documents, emails, texts, and pictures were also reviewed as evidence during the investigation.
"Backed up by corroborating evidence and credible witnesses, the investigators detail multiple current or former New York state employees or women outside state service who were the targets of harassing conduct on the part of the governor," the statement said.
As part of the investigation, Cuomo also had sat with the interviewers and answered questions under oath.
While the governor denied the most serious allegations, the investigators found that he did so by offering "blanket denials" or that he had a "lack of recollection as to specific incidents."
The investigators also found that the governor's recollection "stood in stark contrast to the strength, specificity, and corroboration of the complainants' recollections, as well as the reports of many other individuals who offered observations and experiences of the governor's conduct."
Reacting to the resignation of Governor, Attorney General Letitia James said that this is a sad day for New York. James also thanked all the women who came forward to tell their stories in painstaking detail which enabled investigators to get to the truth.
"No man — no matter how powerful — can be allowed to harass women or violate our human rights laws, period," she added
Reacting to the news, US President Joe Biden, who had called for Cuomo's resignation last week, commented briefly on Tuesday, saying that he respects the governor's decision.
Cuomo who was elected as governor of New York in 2010 and reelected in 2014 and 2018 was well known for his daily briefings during the anxious early days of the coronavirus pandemic. This had led to speculation that he might throw his hat into the 2020 presidential race against President Donald Trump.