Once-powerful Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez has said he will resign from the Assembly this morning before his colleagues have the opportunity to expel him from the state Legislature.
Lopez had said on Friday that he woud finish out his term in June in spite of mounting calls for his immediate resignation following the release last week of a detailed report of sexual harassment allegations against him. A special prosecutor found no basis for bringing criminal charges against the 71-year-old political veteran last week.
Before the weekend, the Albany leadership began making plans for Lopez to depart sooner, with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver backing a resolution that could lead to Lopez's expulsion. But Lopez said Saturday he would leave today instead.
Political science Professor Doug Muzzio of Baruch College told The Associated Press that Lopez's resignation amounted to "partial deodorizing" of Albany. He added, "Albany needs more extensive and permanent disinfectant."
Lopez said in a statement Friday that he was innocent of the allegations against him, and was leaving office largely to focus on winning a seat in the City Council. The New York Post reported that Lopez has more than $1 million left in his state campaign account and could redirect some of those funds to his Council campaign.