New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigns fearing impeachment, following sexual harassment inquiry

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned after an inquiry found he sexually harassed multiple women, prompting efforts to remove him.

“The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let the government get back to governing,” he said on Tuesday.

His resignation goes into effect in 14 days. Power will then be transferred to Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

The Democrat faced rising pressure to resign since last week’s report, including from President Joe Biden.

That inquiry from the New York Attorney General’s office found that Mr Cuomo, 63, sexually harassed 11 women, including state employees. He has denied all the allegations.

Mr Cuomo is now facing criminal inquiries in several counties.

The report saw many prominent Democrats turn against Mr Cuomo, including Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Senate leader Chuck Schumer.

His fellow New York Democrats, who control the statehouse, had also started on plans to impeach him.

“I’m a fighter and my instinct is to fight through this controversy because I truly believe it is politically motivated, I believe it is unfair and it is untruthful and I believe it demonises behaviour that is unsustainable for society,” Mr Cuomo said in a news conference announcing his decision.

He continued: “New York tough means New York loving, and I love New York, and I love you. I would never want to be unhelpful in any way.”

He argued that the “current trajectory” of the scandal would generate months of controversy and “cost taxpayers millions of dollars”.

“Wasting energy on distractions is the last thing that the state government should be doing, and I can’t be the cause of that.”

Mr Cuomo gained national attention during the early days of the pandemic, in part due to his no-nonsense daily televised briefings.

His departure marks the second time in 13 years that a New York governor has resigned.