Assemblyman Vito Lopez to resign

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Updated: 5/17/2013 10:25 pm
Democratic New York City Assemblyman Vito Lopez says he will resign amid a sexual harassment scandal and run for New York City council.
   
Lopez says he'll step down June 20.
   
Lopez has been under growing pressure after it was revealed the state secretly paid women $103,000 to settle sexual harassment claims against the one-time Brooklyn power broker.
   
Two blistering reports this week, from a special prosecutor and the state's Joint Commission on Public Ethics, painted an ugly picture of unwanted comments and contact from the 71-year-old assemblyman.
   
He does not face any criminal charges.
   
On Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Lopez should resign or be expelled from the Assembly. Late Thursday night, powerful Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said he would push to throw him out of the legislature.

In a statement sent to the media late Friday morning, Lopez says:

I am gratified that Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan has concluded, after an exhaustive investigation, that there is no basis for brining criminal charges against me.  I have maintained my innocence throughout this matter and I believe no criminal investigation should ever have been conducted.

I have made no secret that I intend to run for New York City Council in November, which requires me to resign my current term.  Nevertheless, because the citizens of my district voted me back into office last November by an overwhelming majority, I feel obligated to serve out this session of the Assembly.  I therefore announce that as of June 20, 2013, the last day of the session, I resign my position.

I expect to run a vigorous campaign on the issues facing the citizens of my community and hope to continue to serve them as a member of the City Council.  I believe that the voters of the community should decide who should represent them.



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