Assemblyman Lopez Resigns Ahead of Expulsion

ALBANY (AP/Hamodia) - A New York assemblyman whose scandal played out in a ethics report last week said Saturday he will resign rather than possibly be expelled from the Legislature.

The announcement by Democratic Assemblyman Vito Lopez, 72, a once-powerful Brooklyn Democratic leader, came as a surprise. He had tried to hold on to his seat until the end of the legislative session on June 20 in order to pursue his candidacy for city council. But a torrent of calls forced his hand.

In a single terse sentence, Lopez announced his immediate resignation from the seat he’s held since 1984, “effective 9 a.m. Monday, May 20, 2013.”

Silver announced Lopez’s reversal. The powerful speaker had planned Monday to begin a rare and uncertain effort to expel a sitting lawmaker who was just overwhelmingly re-elected in November.

Meanwhile, The New York Times, New York Post and Daily News called in their editorial pages for the resignation of Silver for allowing a Lopez cover-up. But Cuomo told reporters he didn’t think it was his place “to say who the speaker is and who the speaker should be.”

“I don’t see any comparison between what Vito Lopez and what Shelly Silver did,” Cuomo added. “There is a magnitude of difference.”