Gov. Cuomo announces resignation amid sexual harassment investigation

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday he is resigning, effective in 14 days, amid a sexual harassment investigation.

Cuomo denied any wrongdoing and apologized for any pain he may have caused, and he said his instinct is to fight through a controversy he believes is politically motivated.

"This is about politics, and our political system today is too often driven by extremes," Cuomo said

EMBED More News Videos

NJ Burkett has the latest on Andrew Cuomo's resignation as New York governor.



Cuomo's favorability rating over the years:


However, Cuomo said this situation on its current trajectory would create months of distraction, consume government resources, and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

WATCH | The Countdown: Bill Ritter, guests break down Cuomo resignation
EMBED More News Videos

What's next following Governor Cuomo's resignation? Bill Ritter and political guests have a breakdown.



"Wasting energy on distractions is the last thing government should be doing," he said. "I cannot be the cause of that...I think that given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing. That is what I'll do."

Cuomo's full statement:
EMBED More News Videos

Complete: NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo's full statement announcing his resignation amid sexual misconduct allegations.


Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a 62-year-old Democrat and former member of Congress from the Buffalo area, will become the state's 57th governor and the first woman to hold the post.

"I agree with Governor Cuomo's decision to step down," Hochul said. "It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers. As someone who has served at all levels of government and is next in the line of succession, I am prepared to lead as New York State's 57th Governor."

RELATED | Who is Kathy Hochul?
EMBED More News Videos

Hochul will become New York's first woman governor.


In his statement, Cuomo said he "deeply, deeply" apologized for what he said he meant as "endearing gestures" but that he said women found "dated."

He called some of the allegations fabricated, forcefully denying he touched anyone inappropriately. But he acknowledged making some aides uncomfortable with comments he said he intended as playful.

"I take full responsibility for my actions," he said. "I have been too familiar with people...In my mind, I've never crossed the line with anyone, but I didn't realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn."

RELATED | 'Right thing to do': Reaction swift, pours in on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's resignation

Cuomo also took aim at the New York Attorney General's report.

"When there is a lack of fairness or bias in the justice system, that should concern everyone," he said.

He addressed for the first time the allegation from the state trooper, saying they spent a lot of time bantering in the car and joked about the negative consequences of getting married.

He said he did not recall touching her back or stomach as alleged, but he conceded it was "totally thoughtless. It was a mistake plain and simple. I want to personally apologize to her and her family."

RELATED | Andrew Cuomo's accusers "vindicated and relieved," attorney says

"Thank you for the honor of serving you," he concluded. "It has been the honor of my life. God bless you."

Video: Cuomo departs New York City
EMBED More News Videos

Eyewitness News' Lauren Glassberg was there as Gov. Cuomo boarded a helicopter to return to Albany after announcing his resignation.


Cuomo's remarks Tuesday came moments after his private attorney, Rita Glavin, held a briefing Tuesday morning to refute many the findings of Attorney General Letitia James' sexual misconduct investigation.

Glavin said the report contains factual errors and omits key evidence regarding allegations made by several of the women cited in the report.

==

More Cuomo Coverage



RELATED | Full details of 11 complaints against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, according to AG report
EMBED More News Videos

Raw Video: Attorneys Joon Kim and Anne Clark detail some of the allegations the investigated against Gov. Cuomo.





Cuomo released a pre-recorded statement saying that he never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.
EMBED More News Videos

NY Gov. Cuomo responds to AG report on sexual harassment



WATCH | The Countdown: Bill Ritter, guests break down Cuomo resignation
EMBED More News Videos

What's next following Governor Cuomo's resignation? Bill Ritter and political guests have a breakdown.



----------
* Get Eyewitness News Delivered
* Follow us on YouTube
* More local news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts Submit a News Tip
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.