NEW YORK (AP/WROC Staff) — After months of holding on to power, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo abruptly resigned Tuesday.
We take you through what happened and what’s next:
REMIND ME — WHAT WAS HE ACCUSED OF?
Cuomo was under investigation for several things, but the prevailing issue leading to his resignation concerned sexual harassment allegations. An investigative report released last week said he sexually harassed 11 women, many of whom had worked for him or the state. Other issues in play in a state Assembly impeachment probe: how his administration handled data on COVID-19-related deaths in nursing homes, his $5 million pandemic leadership book deal and whether friends and relatives were given special access to COVID-19 tests early in the pandemic.
CUOMO SAID HE WASN’T GOING ANYWHERE. WHY DID HE RESIGN NOW?
Cuomo has denied the most serious allegations against him and acknowledged Tuesday that his “instinct is to fight.” But he said the impeachment process would take months and consume resources that should go toward “managing COVID, guarding against the delta variant, reopening upstate, fighting gun violence and saving New York City.”
SO WHO’S IN CHARGE NOW?
Still Cuomo. His resignation won’t take effect for two weeks. But Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul is on deck to take over afterward.
Many are now wondering what the governor’s departure means for next year’s gubernatorial election. Experts say Kathy Hochul could be the front runner as a result of her experience in Albany.
We could also see other names on the Democratic ticket like Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Attorney General Letitia James.
On the Republic side, Congressman Lee Zeldin has outlined his agenda for the position, along with Andrew Giuliani and Rob Astorino. It’s possible, if not impeached, that Gov. Cuomo could run again. However, a local political science professor says that’s highly unlikely.
“I think the legal liabilities that are going to come with this, they’re going to be a sidebar, but they will happen and he’ll very likely face criminal charges,” Nazareth College Political Science Professor Tim Kneeland said.
WHY IS HE WAITING 14 DAYS TO LEAVE?
Cuomo said he wanted time for a “seamless” transition to the new administration. He declared Hochul could be caught up to speed in a timely fashion.
IF HE LEAVES OFFICE, WILL HE BE SAFE FROM CHARGES?
Prosecutors in Albany, Westchester and on Long Island have already said their investigations into whether Cuomo committed any crimes will continue. Cuomo might be hoping that prosecutors or the women who complained about his behavior might lose interest in pursuing a case now that he’s out of office.
DOES CUOMO HAVE REGRETS?
He “deeply, deeply” apologized to the “11 women who I truly offended.” But he continued to deny the most serious allegations outlined in the report and again blamed the allegations as misunderstandings attributed to “generational and cultural differences.” Last week, he personally apologized to two accusers — ex-aide Charlotte Bennett and a wedding guest he was photographed kissing, Anna Ruch. On Tuesday, he added the unnamed New York State Police trooper who said he inappropriately touched her to the list.