Chief Judge Janet DiFiore presided over a procedural ceremony at the New York State Capitol at midnight on Aug. 24, where Hochul was officially sworn in as the first female governor in New York state history.
“I’ll tell New Yorkers I’m up to the task,” Hochul told WGRZ following the ceremony. “And I’m really proud to be able to serve as their governor and I won’t let them down.”
Cuomo’s resignation at 11:59 pm on Monday was prompted by a report (pdf) released by New York Attorney General Letitia James concluding there was credible evidence he had sexually harassed at least 11 women, including allegedly touching them inappropriately, commenting on their appearance, and making suggestive comments about their sex lives.
A number of the women said they feared retaliation if they reported Cuomo’s behavior, the report noted, describing his administration as a hostile workplace “rife with fear and intimidation.”
While Cuomo’s lawyers have challenged the credibility of the report and he himself maintains he never touched anyone inappropriately, he announced earlier in August he would step down so as not to serve as a further distraction for New Yorkers.
Cuomo released a pre-recorded farewell address on Monday, wishing Hochul success while lobbing one final round of criticism against the sexual harassment probe that drove him to resign.
“Let me say now that when government politicizes allegations and the headlines condemn without facts, you undermine the justice system and that doesn’t serve women and it doesn’t serve men or society,” Cuomo said. “I understand that there are moments of intense political pressure and media frenzy that cause a rush to judgment, but that is not right. It’s not fair or sustainable. Facts still matter.”
“The attorney general’s report was designed to be a political firecracker on an explosive topic and it worked. There was a political and media stampede but the truth will (come) out in time. Of that I am confident,” Cuomo said.
In one of his final acts as governor, Cuomo commuted the sentences of four people convicted of second-degree murder, referred one case to the parole board, and fully pardoned one person.
Melissa DeRosa, now former secretary to the governor, issued a statement on Cuomo’s immediate plans following his resignation.
“He looks forward to spending time with his family and has a lot of fishing to catch up on. He is exploring a number of options, but has no interest in running for office again,” DeRosa said, according to ABC News.