NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that he will resign as city’s top official in a bid to distance himself from his controversial statement that the 9/12 terrorist attacks were “a planned attack by the United States government.”
The mayor’s decision comes as his administration has been accused of a cover-up of what happened during the attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.
De Blasio, whose term ends in 2019, has long been a vocal critic of the federal government and has blamed it for a series of events that led to the attacks.
In a statement, he said he will “step down as mayor and will focus on serving New Yorkers.”
De Blasio’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A spokesman for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the office was investigating.
“We have determined that the attorney general and other appropriate authorities have concluded that there is sufficient evidence to determine that Mr. de Blasio did not commit a crime in this matter,” spokesman Michael Briggs said in a statement.
“The city will move forward as planned with the full cooperation of the state’s attorney general, who will work with the attorney’s office to identify appropriate charges.”
The New York Times reported that a group of federal prosecutors had been discussing whether to charge the mayor in the wake of the revelations.
A source familiar with the investigation told CNN that prosecutors have been preparing a civil lawsuit to seek a federal investigation into whether the mayor violated federal law by using his office to promote the theory that the attacks were the work of the United Nations.
On Thursday, de Blasio will travel to London for a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan and a senior official from the Saudi government.
The Saudi leader was a close friend of Trump, and both men have urged the U.S. to take a harder line against the Islamic State group, a group which has seized swathes of Iraq and Syria and which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic Emirate of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
In his statement, deBlasio said the attacks are “an act of terrorism” and have “devastated” the country.
He added that he had been “deeply troubled” by what he called “a continuing pattern of false claims and lies” about 9/10.
He also said that he has been working with the White House to “ensure that no further false claims are made about the September 11th attacks.”