Albany, NY – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation on Tuesday amidst a barrage of sexual harassment allegations that could lead to criminal charges against him.
Cuomo resigned in disgrace one week after New York Attorney General Letitia James released a report that found the governor had sexually harassed at least 11 women, the Associated Press reported.
“And I think that given the circumstances the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to government, and therefore that is what I’ll do, because I work for you, and doing the right thing, is doing the right thing for you,” Cuomo said when he announced he was stepping down, according to NBC News.
The governor said he would leave office in 14 days, but continued to insist that he had done nothing wrong.
During his resignation announcement, Cuomo addressed his three daughters, NBC News reported.
“I want them to know from the bottom of my heart that I never did and I never would intentionally disrespect a woman, treat any woman differently than I would want them treated and that is the God’s honest truth,” the governor said.
“Your dad made mistakes. And he apologized, and he learned from it and that’s what life is all about,” Cuomo said.
The attorney general released the bombshell report on Aug. 3 that said her office had found the governor had “sexually harassed multiple women, and in doing so violated federal and state law.”
James made the announcement at a press conference and released a 165-page report, complete with interviews with 179 witnesses, CNBC reported.
It also included more than 74,000 records, texts, pictures, and emails that were used as evidence.
The report said the investigation found Cuomo’s office was a hostile work environment rife with fear and intimidation.
The attorney general told reporters that her investigation had determined that the governor had sexually harassed at least 11 women, CNBC reported.
The report said Cuomo engaged in nonconsensual touching, groping, kissing, and hugging, and made numerous inappropriate comments to multiple women.
James said Cuomo also retaliated against a former employee who came forward to expose his conduct.
She called the governor’s office a “toxic workplace,” CNBC reported.
The attorney general said the findings in the report revealed “a deeply disturbing, yet clear, picture” of what Cuomo had been doing to members of his staff, state employees, and members of the public.
James’ report claimed that one of the governor’s victims was a New York State Police trooper, CNBC reported.
The trooper told investigators that Cuomo has asked to add her to his protective detail shortly after meeting her in November of 2017, despite the fact she wasn’t qualified.
The report said the trooper alleged the governor had run his hand along her stomach as she held doors for him in the course of her duties, CNBC reported.
The trooper said Cuomo also ran his finger down her neck and back while she stood in front of him in an elevator, kissed her on the cheek in front of another trooper, and made suggestive remarks to her, according to the report.
She also said the governor asked her why she didn’t wear a dress and asked why the trooper would get married when marriage means “your sex drive goes down,” CNBC reported.
The report said Cuomo had asked the trooper to help him find a girlfriend and said he wanted to date a woman who “[c]an handle pain,” CNBC reported.
Other troopers corroborated the female trooper’s stories about the offensive treatment she received at the hands of the governor, and agreed he treated her differently than he treated the male troopers.
The findings of the investigation were released about two weeks after Cuomo was interviewed for 11 hours by investigators for the New York Attorney General’s Office.
The investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and more against the governor was launched in March after a former Cuomo aide went public on Feb. 24 about what had happened to her.
Within two weeks, at least six women had leveled accusations against the governor for harassing and touching them in appropriately.
After James released the investigative report, women began coming forward to file criminal charges against Cuomo with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple confirmed that at least one woman’s complaint had been referred to the Albany County District Attorney’s Office, the New York Post reported.
Albany County District Attorney David Soares confirmed that his office had launched a criminal probe of the governor.
Cuomo will be replaced by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who will be the first female governor of New York.