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Top Cuomo Aide Resigns as New York Lt. Gov. Prepares

Sources say Kathy Hochul is getting ready in case she ends up governor
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2021 1:45 AM CDT
Top Cuomo Aide Resigns as New York Lt. Gov. Prepares
This photo from Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, shows New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left, and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul during a cabinet meeting at the Capitol in Albany, NY.   (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

(Newser) – If New York's governor steps down or is removed from office, the state's lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, will take his place—and she's been preparing for that possibility, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. Hochul has reportedly been seeking counsel on which of Andrew Cuomo's staffers might stay on, who she should hire, and what her first actions should be if she does indeed become the state's first female governor. The news comes as Cuomo's top aide resigned Sunday night. The AP calls Melissa DeRosa "a fixture" next to the governor during his once-beloved coronavirus news conferences, and says she was previously one of Cuomo's "most fierce defenders and strategists." She gave no specific reason for her resignation other than to say, "Personally, the past two years have been emotionally and mentally trying." The New York Times reports DeRosa had been accused of attempting to retaliate against one of Cuomo's accusers.

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Cuomo is facing impeachment if he doesn't exit office himself after the state attorney general's report that found he sexually harassed 11 women, with about two-thirds of state Assembly members in favor of an impeachment trial and almost every member of the state Senate calling for him to step down. The state Assembly's Judiciary Committee meets Monday and could lay out a timeline for an impeachment trial, CNN reports; if the chamber approves an impeachment charge, Hochul will serve as acting governor while Cuomo is tried. The Journal's sources say Hochul has told people she thinks she could be called on to step up to the governor's office within weeks, but in a statement, her office simply says it is the lieutenant governor's job to be prepared to take over as governor. Meanwhile, also happening Monday: an interview with the Cuomo accuser who has filed a criminal complaint against him for allegedly groping her will air in its entirety. (Read more Andrew Cuomo stories.)

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