Cuomo’s Top Aide, Melissa DeRosa, Resigns as He Fights to Survive – The New York Times
Mr. Cuomo has denied touching anyone inappropriately, and has said that some of the 11 women who accused him of harassment may have misinterpreted his jokes, hugs and kisses on the cheek as improper. His lawyers have gone on camera to mount a rigorous defense, describing the investigation by the state attorney general, Letitia James, as biased, rushed and sloppy.
Ms. DeRosa announced her resignation the night before an interview with one of Mr. Cuomo’s accusers, Brittany Commisso, was scheduled to air on “CBS This Morning.”
Ms. Commisso, an executive assistant who had remained anonymous until Sunday, accused Mr. Cuomo of groping her breast while they were alone in the Executive Mansion late last year, one of the most serious claims leveled against the governor. She filed a criminal complaint with the Albany County sheriff department, raising the possibility that Mr. Cuomo could face criminal charges.
As secretary to the governor, Ms. DeRosa was the most powerful appointed official in the state. When Mr. Cuomo appointed her to the post in 2017, she became one of the youngest people to hold that position, and the first woman in the role. She joined the Cuomo administration in 2013 as communications director and was promoted two years later to chief of staff.
The attorney general’s report painted an unflattering portrait of Ms. DeRosa and her role in fostering a toxic workplace and attacking the credibility of Lindsey Boylan, a former economic development official who had accused Mr. Cuomo of sexual harassment in December.
After Ms. Boylan posted her allegation on Twitter, Ms. DeRosa orchestrated an effort among state officials and outside allies to leak Ms. Boylan’s personnel records, which contained sensitive information, to undermine her credibility. She also helped draft, review and circulate a disparaging letter that was never published, but nonetheless assailed Ms. Boylan’s character.
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Results of an independent investigation. An independent inquiry, overseen by the New York State attorney general, found that Mr. Cuomo had harassed the women, including current and former government workers, breaking state and federal laws. The report also found that he and aides retaliated against at least one woman who made her complaints public.
Nursing home death controversy. The Cuomo administration is also under fire for undercounting the number of nursing-home deaths caused by Covid-19 in the first half of 2020, a scandal that deepened after a Times investigation found that aides rewrote a health department report to hide the real number.
Efforts to obscure the death toll. Interviews and unearthed documents revealed in April that aides repeatedly overruled state health officials in releasing the true nursing home death toll for months. Several senior health officials have resigned in response to the governor’s overall handling of the pandemic, including the vaccine rollout.
Will Cuomo be impeached? The State Assembly opened an impeachment investigation in March. It has taken on new urgency with the release of the attorney general’s report, and its pace is now expected to pick up. Democrats in the State Legislature and New York’s congressional delegation, as well as President Biden, have called on Mr. Cuomo to resign, saying he has lost the ability to govern.
As part of those efforts, Ms. DeRosa also instructed a former staffer to call a female Cuomo staff member who had voiced support for Ms. Boylan on Twitter, mine her for information and record the phone conversation, the report said.