Who is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and why did he resign? Who is Chris Cuomo?

Andrew Cuomo has resigned as Governor of New York after facing a wave of sexual harassment allegations from employees at the New York state office - here’s what you need to know.

Who is former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and why did he resign? Who is Chris Cuomo? (Image credit: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)
Who is former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and why did he resign? Who is Chris Cuomo? (Image credit: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)

Prominent United States governor, Andrew Cuomo, resigned from his post as the commander in chief and head of government in the state of New York today (August 10) following the outcome of an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour toward employees during his time in office.

With the investigation finding that the accounts provided by multiple women who came forward with allegations of sexual harassment and assault were indeed true, a number of high profile US political figures and representatives – including President Joe Biden – recently called on Mr Cuomo to resign.

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Here’s what you need to know.

Who is Andrew Cuomo?

63-year-old Andrew Cuomo has served as the 56th Governor of the US state of New York since January 1, 2011.

He is the son of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, who served as the chief executive officer of the state between 1983 to 1994, and worked as one of his father’s policy advisors prior to becoming a New York assistant district attorney.

A member of the US Democratic party, Mr Cuomo oversaw the introduction of the Marriage Equality Act into the state of New York in 2011 and has since spearheaded moves to establish strict gun control legislation in the wake of the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting as well as the legalisation of cannabis for both medicinal and recreational use in the state.

In late 2020, the governor began to face accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assault from former aides and colleagues in the New York state department.

Multiple women eventually came forward with complaints over the governor’s behaviour, which Mr Cuomo has strenuously denied.

What was Andrew Cuomo accused of?

After multiple women came forward with complaints about Governor Cuomo’s behaviour, an independent investigation into the claims was launched by the New York Attorney General Letitia James.

The report on the outcome of the investigation, which began in March 2021, was released on Tuesday August 3, with Attorney General James and independent investigators finding that 11 women’s accounts of sexual harassment and assault by Mr Cuomo were true.

“This is a sad day for New York because independent investigators have concluded that Governor Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and, in doing so, broke the law,” said Attorney General James.

“I am grateful to all the women who came forward to tell their stories in painstaking detail, enabling investigators to get to the truth. No man — no matter how powerful — can be allowed to harass women or violate our human rights laws, period.”

The investigation saw 179 people interviewed by independent lawyers, with 74,000 documents, emails, texts, and pictures reviewed as evidence during the probe.

It concluded that the sexual harassment of multiple women and ‘retaliation’ from the New York Governor and Executive Chamber against a former employee who came forward with claims of sexual harassment violated multiple New York state laws as well as federal laws such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Why did he resign?

On Tuesday August 10, Mr Cuomo resigned from his post at the helm of the New York state legislature.

In a press conference on Tuesday, the former New York governor told reporters: "the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing.”

Describing himself as “a fighter”, Mr Cuomo added that he will continue to fight the allegations made against him, calling these “unfair” and “politically motivated”.

This comes after President Joe Biden became the latest high profile Democrat to call on Governor Cuomo to resign.

In a press briefing on Tuesday August 3, Mr Biden told reporters “I think he should resign”, adding that while it would be too soon to call for the Governor’s impeachment from the state legislature, it was a step he understood was being considered.

Mr Biden was also asked about images used by Mr Cuomo in his evidence submitted to the investigation – with images of Mr Cuomo and Mr Biden embracing used by the former governor to suggest the activity was commonplace, rather than a form of sexual harassment.

President Biden said in response: “I'm sure there are some embraces that were totally innocent, but apparently the Attorney General decided there were things to worry about.”

Democratic New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, called for the Governor's impeachment from office, while US Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement: “As always, I commend the women who came forward to speak their truth.

"Recognising his love of New York and the respect for the office he holds, I call upon the Governor to resign."

In a near-15 minute video released by Mr Cuomo on Tuesday August 3 in response to the investigation’s findings, the Governor said: “I never touched, anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.

“I am 63 years old. I've lived my entire life in public view. That is just not who I am and that's not who I have ever been.”

Who is Chris Cuomo?

CNN presenter and journalist Chris Cuomo is the younger brother of former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The 51-year-old has presented his eponymous news analysis show, ‘Cuomo Prime Time’, on CNN since 2017.

Earlier this year, the American journalist was reported to have participated in behind-the-scenes strategy with his brother, Andrew Cuomo, and his staff as the investigation into the Mr Cuomo’s behaviour were underway.

Chris Cuomo, who has not reporting on the allegations against his brother and former New York Governor, apologised on-air on his show in May.

CNN Media Reporter Brian Stelter was grilled by US late night TV show host Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night about his colleague’s alleged involvement with his Mr Cuomo’s response to sexual harassment allegations.

Mr Stelter said that “some people are mad” at the CNN presenter for becoming embroiled in the ongoing scandal.

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