ALBANY, N.Y. – David Paterson has become New York's first black governor.
The Harlem Democrat took the oath of office just after 1 p.m. Monday in a ceremony at the state Capitol in Albany. Lawmakers in attendance cheered and chanted his name as he prepared to give his inaugural address.
Paterson rose from lieutenant governor to the chief executive's office following Eliot Spitzer's stunning resignation amid a prostitution scandal. Spitzer's departure from office became official at noon.
Spitzer left the governor's office in disgrace after 14 months and as federal authorities continue to investigate a high-priced call girl operation he was accused of using.
The Democrat is not charged with a crime, but four people accused of running the prostitution operation have been charged with violating the Mann Act. The federal law bans carrying women or girls across state lines for prostitution or any immoral purpose.
Spitzer says he's leaving politics, but his law license could also be in jeopardy.
The resignation blunts one of the nation's most promising political careers. Widely regarded as perhaps the state's best attorney general after two terms in which he forced reforms on Wall Street, Spitzer earned international fame as a crusader against corporate misconduct.
He was elected governor in 2006 with a record share of the vote, nearly 70 percent, largely on his promise to reform Albany. He stumbled in his freshman year, getting tangled up in a plot by his aides to smear his chief political rival. But after the rough start, things looked like they were turning around for Spitzer in early 2008.
Then came last Monday's bombshell report linking the governor to prostitutes. After a brief and vague apology, Spitzer hunkered down for two days in his Manhattan apartment with his wife, three teenage daughters and trusted advisers. By Wednesday, he was done. Spitzer announced he would quit and give Paterson five days to get ready to take over.