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New York Governor Cuomo is Resigning: What Happens Next?

© REUTERS / EDUARDO MUNOZNew York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks while making an announcement at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., May 11, 2021
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks while making an announcement at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., May 11, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.08.2021
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is also facing two other investigations into alleged misconduct, including whether he gave the US Justice Department falsified reports on COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, and whether he used state resources to finish his memoir about handling the pandemic.
At a Tuesday press conference, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he was resigning amid a slew of accusations by women that he had sexually harassed them. However, this isn’t the end of the road for the 63-year-old Democratic governor, who still has two weeks in office and could also face charges after stepping down.

Two Weeks Left

Cuomo said Tuesday afternoon that his resignation from office would take effect in two weeks, on August 24. The announcement comes a day after a report in the New York Times detailing how the three-term Democratic governor planned to “drag out the process” of his impending impeachment by the state legislature, which the paper said might come in early September.
He gave no explanation for why he wasn’t immediately leaving office, except that the “transition must be seamless. We have a lot going on.”
Common Cause New York, a government accountability nonprofit, said on Twitter that his resignation should be immediate because “New Yorkers require a functioning government, not a leadership void created by a grace period ​for misconduct.”
A total of 13 women have come forward with accusations that Cuomo touched them inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual comments toward them, with many of the accusations going back several years. The first claims hit headlines in December 2020 when former Cuomo aide Lindsey Boylan gave details about several events on Twitter.
Through early 2021, several more women came forward and the state’s attorney general, Letitia James, opened an investigation into 11 of them. Her damning report, released last week, vindicated the accusers’ claims and set in motion calls for Cuomo’s resignation and threats to have him impeached. Two more women have since come forth with accusations, and a criminal complaint has been brought against Cuomo, as well.

First Female Governor

Set to take office after Cuomo’s departure on August 24 is Kathy Hochul, New York’s lieutenant governor, who will become first female head of government in the Empire State’s history, which goes back to the founding of the United States as one of the original 13 colonies that rebelled against and ultimately broke away from Great Britain in the late 18th century.
A self-described “independent Democrat,” the 62-year-old Hochul is a veteran of New York politics and has been Cuomo's second-in-command since 2015.
Still, Hochul has supported Cuomo’s removal from office since March, when she appeared at a rally alongside Boylan and urged the State Assembly to “act swiftly” and “do the right thing” by impeaching her boss. Shortly after taking office in 2015, she also vocally supported the state’s "Enough Is Enough" legislation, which aimed to fight the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses.
​On Tuesday afternoon, Hochul tweeted that Cuomo’s resignation was “the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers” and that she is “prepared to lead as New York State’s 57th Governor.”

Possible Lawsuits?

On August 6, three days after the AG report was published, Brittany Commisso, identified in the report as "Executive Assistant #1" filed a criminal complaint against Cuomo with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office. According to NBC, the sheriff’s office is coordinating with the district attorney’s office, but the governor hasn’t yet been charged with any crimes.
“What he did to me was a crime,” Commisso told CBS in an interview published on Sunday. “He broke the law … The governor needs to be held accountable.”
Boylan has also vowed to bring charges, writing on Medium on Monday that she intended to sue both Cuomo and others in his administration who attempted to smear her reputation.
“He is gaslighting and revictimizing us. He is showing everyone what happens to women when they speak up about harassment and abuse in the workplace,” Boylan wrote, referring to Cuomo’s repeated public denials of guilt. “Too many people have been harmed or had their careers destroyed after reporting harassment. Retaliation is unacceptable in any workplace. It revictimizes those who have suffered abuse and it deters people from coming forward.”
Other accusers have also retained legal representation, but there’s no guarantee they will file charges.
Mariann Wang, a lawyer representing Alyssa McGrath and Virginia Limmiatis, the two women who came forth after the AG report was published, told the Associated Press after Cuomo’s resignation that her clients were “vindicated and relieved that Cuomo will no longer be in a position of power over anyone.”
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