NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigns amid scandal

“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.”

Amid mounting legal pressure and demands for his departure by President Joe Biden - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned on Tuesday following an inquiry that found he sexually harassed 11 women.

A startling downfall for a man once seen as a possible U.S. presidential contender.

In a televised, 20-minute address, Cuomo again denied any wrongdoing, though he said he accepted "full responsibility" for offending the women through what he characterized as ill-conceived attempts to be affectionate or humorous.

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

Cuomo, a Democrat who has served as New York’s governor since 2011 made the announcement after New York Attorney General Letitia James earlier this month released the results of a five-month independent investigation that concluded he had engaged in conduct that violated U.S. and state laws.

JAMES: "...the investigation found that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed current and former New York State employees..."

The investigation, detailed in a 168-page report found that Cuomo groped, kissed or made suggestive comments to women including current and former government workers - one a state trooper - and retaliated against at least one woman who accused him of sexual misconduct.

CUOMO: "wasting energy on distractions is the last thing that state government should be doing. And I cannot be the cause of that."

The 63-year-old had for months denied mounting allegations of sexual harassment - and renewed those denials after the investigative report was issued.

Like his father Mario Cuomo who was also governor of NY, Andrew Cuomo never ran for president despite speculation about his possible ambitions.

He gained national prominence last year delivering daily news conferences as his state became the U.S. epicenter of the public health crisis.

His resignation spared Cuomo from possible removal from office through impeachment proceedings in the state legislature.

Cuomo's resignation marks the second time in 13 years that a New York governor has stepped down in scandal, after Eliot Spitzer quit in 2008 over his patronage of prostitutes.

Cuomo’s resignation will take effect in 14 days, after which, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat from western New York, will take over as governor of the state of more than 19 million people until the end of Cuomo's term in December 2022 - becoming the first woman to hold the post.