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Gov. Andrew Cuomo Stepping Down Amid Calls For Impeachment Over Sexual Harassment Scandal

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It's a dramatic fall from grace for one of the most powerful leaders in New York history.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo came out Tuesday and said he will resign.

He made the announcement just after noon from his New York City office.

A short while later, he boarded a state helicopter at the East Side heliport with one of his daughters by his side.

Also with him were several top aides, including Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, who handed in her resignation Sunday after pleading with the governor to do the same.

The historic resignation comes just one week after New York Attorney General Letitia James released a report accusing the governor of sexual harassment.

DeRosa and others argued that the sexual harassment charges brought by the Attorney General would make it impossible for Cuomo to help the state recover.

WATCH: CBS2's Political Reporter Marcia Kramer On Gov. Cuomo's Resignation 

He will officially leave office on August 24.

The spotlight will then turn to Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who will become the first woman governor in New York state history.

As CBS2's political reporter Marcia Kramer reports, in so many ways, it was a stunning reversal of fortune for the Emmy-winning governor of New York, whose leadership in the time of COVID-19 became must-see TV for much of the nation. He talked about wanting to fight the charge, but in the end he gave in to political reality.

PHOTOSAndrew Cuomo Through The Years

"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," Cuomo said. "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."

READ MORE: Lawmakers Respond To Cuomo's Resignation; Republicans Hope It Restores 'Honor, Decency, And Accountability To New York State Government'

And with those words, Andrew Cuomo resigned, realizing that the ballooning sexual harassment scandal engulfing him would consumer government and make it impossible for him to lead the state through one of the toughest times in its history: Recovery from the COVID pandemic, that is still very much with us.

"This situation, by its current trajectory, will generate months of political and legal controversy. That is what is going to happen. That is how the political wind is blowing. It will consumer government. It will cost taxpayers millions of dollars. It will brutalize people," Cuomo said.

WATCH: AG Report Finds Gov. Cuomo Sexually Harassed Multiple Women

WEB EXTRA: Read AG Report | Exhibits 1 | Exhibits 2 | Exhibits 3 | Cuomo's Response

The scandal would also have brutalized him, and his family. With women like Brittany Commisso, who said the governor groped her, filing criminal complaints, and others like Lindsey Boylan, the governor's first accuser, vowing to seek civil damages.

"In my mind, I never crossed the line with anyone," Cuomo said.

Despite the resignation - he will officially leave office in 14 days - the governor continued to insist he did nothing wrong. Before he spoke, his lawyer Rita Glavin insisted the attorney general's report was unfair.

"From day one, it became a case against Governor Andrew Cuomo. They started with the presumption that he had done some terrible things, and it went from there," Glavin said. "The investigators acted as the prosecutors, the judge and the jury."

WATCH: Cuomo Accuser Brittany Commisso Speaks Out In Exclusive Interview

Glavin questioned several of the report's findings Tuesday, including Commisso's testimony. She added some of the allegations should not be considered sexual harassment and raised concerns about the investigative team.

"There is no question in my mind [the report] was designed and meant to devastate Gov. Cuomo and his chamber," she said.

The governor insisted that there is a difference been alleged improper conduct and concluding sexual harassment.

"That is not to say there are not 11 women who I truly offended. There are, and for that I deeply apologize," Cuomo said.

He tried to cast his actions as that of an old-time politician caught up in a Me Too generation, whose implications he didn't understand.

"I thought a hug and putting my around the staff person while taking a picture was friendly, but she found too forward. I kissed a woman on the cheek at a wedding, and I thought I was being nice, but she felt it was too aggressive," Cuomo said.

"I have slipped and called people 'honey,' 'sweetheart' and 'darling.' I meant it to be endearing, but women found it dated and offensive. I said on national TV to a doctor wearing PPE and giving me a COVID nasal swab, 'You make that gown look good.' I was joking," Cuomo added.

He also tried to explain the AG's findings that he sexually harassed a married female state trooper assigned to his protective detail.

"The trooper also stated that in an elevator I touched her back, and when I was walking past her in a doorway, I touched her stomach," Cuomo said. "At public events, troopers will often hold doors open or guard the doorways. When I walk past them, I often give them a grip on the arm, a pat on the face, a touch on the stomach, a slap on the back. It's my way of saying 'I see you, I appreciate you.'"

WATCH: CBS2's Political Reporter Marcia Kramer On Gov. Cuomo's Resignation

The governor also talked about the effect the case was having on his three daughters.

"I have lived this experience with them, and through them. I have sat on the couch with them, hearing the ugly accusations for weeks. I've seen the look in their eyes, the expression on their faces, and it hurt," Cuomo said.

The Cuomo family may be in for more hurt. Sources tell Kramer the Assembly Judiciary Committee is still planning on holding a meeting on Monday. Some people still want to go forward with impeachment and trial to prevent Cuomo from ever holding office again.

READ MORE: TIMELINE: Gov. Cuomo Under Investigation For Sexual Harassment Allegations, Nursing Home Deaths

And there are still ongoing federal investigations into nursing home deaths, as well as possible criminal investigations from four district attorneys' offices.

"I agree with Gov. Cuomo's decision to step down. It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers," Hochul said in a statement Tuesday. "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."

"Today closes a sad chapter for all of New York, but it's an important step towards justice," said New York Attorney General Letitia James. "I thank Governor Cuomo for his contributions to our state. The ascension of our Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul, will help New York enter a new day."

The 56th governor of New York also made it clear he would have liked to fight it out.

"But the political environment is too hot and it's too reactionary for that now, and it is unfortunate," he said.

Sources tell CBS2 the governor is waiting two weeks to officially step down to ensure an orderly transition.

Editor's note: This story first appeared on August 10.

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