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Cuomo says Lopez should be expelled, stops short of criticizing Speaker Silver

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling on Assemblyman Vito Lopez, the subject of a scathing ethics commission report on sexual harassment, to resign from office or be expelled.

Cuomo, called Lopez’s sexual harassment of at least four women, as portrayed in the state ethics report, “disturbing” and “ugly.” The governor says the assemblyman should immediately resign, or the rest of the Assembly should move to get rid of him.

“The reaction form the legislature should be zero tolerance,” Cuomo said. “If he doesn’t resign, he should be expelled.”

Cuomo stopped short, though, of saying Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver should be held accountable for his staff’s role in at first attempting to cover up the abuse with a confidential settlement with two of the women. Cuomo says it’s not his place to say who the speaker of the assembly should be. He did criticize the Assembly as a whole, though, saying it handled the entire incident “poorly and terribly.”

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.