COLUMBUS -- Just before 5 p.m. today, Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann resigned, saying he needs to "focus on his family now."
"Twelve days ago, I came before you to admit my mistakes, to take responsibility and to announce steps towards giving the office an administrative backbone worthy of the great legal work that we were doing in the office," Dann said.
He added that "I sincerely viewed it as my fiduciary responsibility to fix the problems on my watch, especially as it concerned my own actions. Unfortunately, it is now clear that the last step I must take to fix these problems is to resign as attorney general, effective immediately."
Gov. Ted Strickland said Dann did the "honorable thing." He added that "no deal" was made with Dann for his resignation.
Strickland said he asked Dann to step down and "there would be consequences if he did not."
Dann praised his employees, saying "They deserve to be both recognized and to continue their work without the distractions that the political situation, that the political situation that I find myself in, has caused them."
Strickland said the law states that first assistant attorney general Tom Winters will step in to run the attorney general's office and that Winters will do just that.
The impeachment process that got underway yesterday will now come to a halt.
But Strickland said Inspector General Thomas Charles's investigation into Dann's office will continue, and "let the chips fall where they may."
Now both political parties will each choose a candidate to run for attorney general on Nov. 4 to complete the remaining two years of Dann's term.
Strickland, the titular head of the state Democratic party, said the qualities he would look for in an attorney general candidate would be "maturity, experience and management abilities."
Dann left his office at 12:30 p.m. today without making an announced noon statement on his political future.
At that same time, deputies from Charles's office removed a cartload of computers and files from Dann's 17th floor offices.
State lawmakers Tuesday authorized Charles to investigate Dann, a Democrat, as they began pursuing impeachment proceedings against him.
Both parties have called on him to resign, following a sexual harassment scandal in his office and his admission to an affair with an employee.
On Tuesday, Dann tried to negotiate a deal that was rejected by legislative leaders.
Charles visited Dann on Wednesday before removing materials from his office. Dann was also visited by Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, a fellow Democrat and long-time mentor, who called their discussions productive and professional.
Fisher declined to discuss the details.
Earlier today, Jason Stanford, a spokesman in Dann's office, said Dann would release a statement to the media at noon about his olitical future and told the media that "Attendance is mandatory" at Dann's appearance.
On May 2, Dann admitted an extramarital affair with his scheduler, Jessica Utovich, which he said may have contributed to a hostile work environment where sexual harassment occurred.
Two top aides, Anthony Gutierrez and Leo Jennings III, Dann's communications director, were fired May 2 and two others resigned.
Dann spent Tuesday attempting to offer his resignation in exchange for calling off or delaying Charles's investigation into Dann's office.
Charles is a seasoned investigator.
He investigated former Gov. Bob Taft, who ended up with four misdemeanor criminal ethics convictions while in office; coin dealer Thomas W. Noe , who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his part in the Ohio Bureau of Worker's Compensation scandal;
Former Ohio Consumers' Counsel Robert S. Tongren, wjo lost his job; Arnold R. Tompkins, former Ohio Job and Family Services director who had two ethics misdemeanor convictions; Randall A. Fischer, former head of the Ohio School Facilities Commission resigned under pressure; and Frankie Coleman, Mayor Michael B. Coleman's wife, who was caught fudging hours in the Department of Development, resigned and repaid the state for hours she didn't work.
Yesterday, Ohio House Democrats filed nine articles of impeachment against Dann.