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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Source: Reuters
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  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announces his resignation amid a sexual harassment scandal and a call to step down from US President Joe Biden
  • A five-month investigation into Mr Cuomo’s actions found he sexually harassed 11 women during his time in office
  • Mr Cuomo says he takes “full responsibility” for his actions, though he denies any wrongdoing
  • Rather, he says he accidentally offended the women with actions and comments that were meant to be affectionate or humourous
  • New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will replace Mr Cuomo as Governor

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced his resignation amid a sexual harassment scandal and a call to step down from US President Joe Biden.

A five-month investigation into Mr Cuomo’s actions found that he had engaged in conduct that violated US federal and state laws during his time in office.

Mr Cuomo, a Democrat, served as New York’s Governor since 2011.

The investigation found he sexually harassed 11 women during his time in office, with a 168-page report detailing how the governor groped, kissed or made suggestive comments to current and former government workers as well as a state trooper.

Mr Cuomo said he took “full responsibility” for his actions, though he emphatically denied any wrongdoing.

In a televised address, Mr Cuomo said in his mind he “never crossed the line” with anyone.

“But I didn’t realise the extent to which the line has been redrawn,” Mr Cuomo said.

“There are generational and cultural shifts that I just didn’t fully appreciate. And I should have — no excuses.”

Mr Cuomo cited incidents outlined in the investigation — such as kissing a woman on the cheek, calling people “honey” and “sweetheart” and touching a woman’s stomach — as actions that were interpreted as too forward but were supposed to be endearing.

He said certain comments made to women were taken poorly because his sense of humour “can be insensitive and offputting”.

“Now, don’t get me wrong: this is not to say that there are not 11 women who I truly offended. There are. And for that, I deeply, deeply, apologise,” Mr Cuomo said.

However, he added that there was a difference between “alleged improper conduct and concluding sexual harassment”.

Resigning is the “best way” to help

While he denied the sexual assault allegations, Mr Cuomo said his decision to resign was in the best interests of New York and the State Government.

He said fighting the allegations while in office would generate “months of political and legal controversy” and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

“Time and money that the government should spend managing COVID, guarding against Delta variant, reopening our state, fighting gun violence, and saving New York City. All that time would be wasted,” Mr Cuomo said.

“I think that given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let the government get back to governing — and therefore, that’s what I’ll do.”

Last week, Mr Biden called for Mr Cuomo’s resignation in light of the report on the investigation into the governor’s conduct.

Mr Biden has previously said he believed Mr Cuomo should resign if the allegations were found to be true. When the report was released, the President stood by that statement.

“I think he should resign,” President Biden told reporters.

This week, President Biden told reporters he supported the Governor’s decision.

Mr Cuomo’s last day in office will be in a fortnight’s time.

New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will replace Mr Cuomo as Governor.

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