Accusers, Lawmakers Respond to Andrew Cuomo Resignation: 'Vindicated and Relieved'

Andrew Cuomo

Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Elected officials in New York and beyond endorsed the resignation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who on Tuesday announced he would step down from the job in the wake of a report that found he "sexually harassed multiple women."

"I agree with Governor Cuomo's decision to step down. It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers. As someone who has served at all levels of government and is next in the line of succession, I am prepared to lead as New York State's 57th Governor," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who will now lead the state, said in a statement released after Cuomo's Tuesday press conference.

The 63-year-old Cuomo's resignation comes just days after the release of a report by New York Attorney General Letitia James, which determined that Cuomo engaged in "unwanted groping, kisses, hugging, and making inappropriate comments" with both current and former New York state employees. She added that the actions "created a hostile work environment for women."

In a press conference held Tuesday, Cuomo said he would step down.

"New York tough means New York loving, and I love New York and I love you. And everything I have ever done has been motivated by that love. And I would never want to be unhelpful in any way. And 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," he said.

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Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women's Law Center and co-founder of the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund, echoed the endorsement of Cuomo's resignation, but said in her own statement that the governor is one of many.

"We must also remember that Governor Cuomo is just one of many powerful men who assert their entitlement over the lives and bodies of the women in their employ, and we will not stop fighting on behalf of survivors until every voice is heard and every person harmed by sexual harassment and violence knows they can find justice and accountability when they need it most," Graves said.

RELATED: New York Attorney General Says Gov. Andrew Cuomo Sexually Harassed Employees, 'Violated Federal and State Law'

Among the others to release statements following the news were Cuomo's accusers.

"My clients feel both vindicated and relieved that Cuomo will no longer be in a position of power over anyone," Mariann Wang, attorney for Alyssa McGrath and Virginia Limmiatis, said. "His efforts, through his paid attorney, over the last few days, to gaslight and attack the brave women who came forward, apparently served no purpose. Ms. McGrath and Ms. Limmiatis remain grateful that their voices and experiences were heard and substantiated by the AG's investigators, and feel solidarity with all women who continue to be abused by men in power. At least today, one of them has faced some consequences."

Limmiatis, an employee of National Grid in Syracuse, told investigators she met Cuomo at an event in May 2017, during which he ran two fingers along the company lettering on her shirt and leaned in close to her face, according to the state AG's report.

"Cuomo said something along the lines of, 'I'm going to say I see a spider on your shoulder.' Ms. Limmiatis looked down to see that there was no spider or bug on her, but the governor brushed his hand in the area between her shoulder and breast below her collarbone,'' the report said.

McGrath, a current aide in the governor's office, told The New York Times that Cuomo had stared inappropriately at her body and commented on her looks, beginning shortly after she took her job in 2018.

Another accuser, Lindsey Boylan — who said Cuomo once kissed her after a meeting — said, "It is a tragedy that so many stood by and watched these abuses happen."

The governor and his aides vigorously denied Boylan's claims, which she first made in December. The AG report found that Cuomo's office retaliated against Boylan after she came forward with her claims.

"From the beginning, I simply asked that the Governor stop his abusive behavior. It became abundantly clear he was unable to do that, instead attacking and blaming victims until the end ... I am thankful for the Attorney General, the investigators and all those who have pursued the truth despite intimidation and threats of retaliation," Boylan said.

Boyland continued: "Most importantly, I am in awe of the strength of the other women who risked everything to come forward. My hope always has been that this will make it safer for other women to report their own harassment and abuse. I will continue the fight to make that happen."

Sen. Chuck Schumer, who had earlier called on the governor to resign, commended the women who accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, saying his announcement was "the right decision for the good of the people of New York."

New York City Mayor Mayor Bill de Blasio, echoed that statement with his own, which read in part: "Make no mistake, this is the result of survivors bravely telling their stories. It was past time for Andrew Cuomo to resign and it's for the good of all New York."

Following Cuomo's announcement that he would resign, New York Attorney General James said, "today closes a sad chapter for all of New York." She thanked Cuomo for his contributions to the state and said that Hochul's ascension to the governor's office "will help New York enter a new day."