Cuomo’s Top Aide, Melissa DeRosa, Resigns as He Fights to Survive

Cuomo’s Top Aide, Melissa DeRosa, Resigns as He Fights to Survive

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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.

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.


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