Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s underlings attempted to discredit and smear the first lady to publicly converse out about his alleged sexual misconduct, in accordance to the explosive official report released Tuesday that discovered he violated state and federal regulation by way of widespread harassment.
The report, commissioned by state Attorney General Letitia James and compiled by unbiased investigators, particulars makes an attempt by the governor’s group to undermine the credibility of former Cuomo staffer Lindsey Boylan, who first spoke out late last year.
After Boylan tweeted in Dec. 2020 that the governor “sexually harassed” her over her appears to be like, Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi despatched a number of reporters — together with one from The Post — “confidential files” detailing office complaints towards Boylan, together with a formal statement denying the allegations.
“Witnesses involved in disclosing the Confidential Files testified that the complainants’ names were redacted with WiteOut before they were sent to reporters,” in accordance to the official report.
Azzopardi and Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo’s high adviser, directed administration allies to coordinate the distribution of the information to journalists, the report continued.
One text-message trade, between Post reporter Bernadette Hogan and former Cuomo spokesman Rich Bamberger, was included as proof within the sprawling report.
“Azzo is sending to you any minute,” wrote Bamberger, referring to Azzopardi.
DeRosa testified to investigators that former Cuomo Chief of Staff Josh Vlasto was the first to suggest weaponizing the information, in response to different tweets Boylan despatched earlier in December that had been crucial of Cuomo.
Vlasto “first proposed releasing the Confidential Files to respond to the tweets Ms. Boylan sent before December 13,” in accordance to the report.
Azzopardi cautioned towards disclosing the information, warning that the transfer would possibly blow up within the administration’s face.
“According to Ms. DeRosa, Mr. Azzopardi had also been against releasing the
Confidential Files because years earlier, a senior member of the Executive Chamber had read someone’s personnel file on the radio ‘and it was a disastrous public relations move,’” the report states.
But DeRosa finally determined to store the personnel information round “because Ms. Boylan’s tweets had gotten ‘more and more escalating’ and the group’s view was that they had ‘made a mistake by not doing something earlier,’” she testified within the report.
In his personal testimony for the report, Azzopardi stated that the information had been leaked “in order to correct demonstrably false information” in regards to the circumstances of Boylan leaving state employment.
“According to him, Ms. Boylan had made public statements on Twitter and in the New York Post that ‘she left because of a toxic workplace, and she tried to quit three times until it actually stuck,’” the report states.
Azzopardi advised three reporters, together with one from The Post, that Boylan had, actually, been fired, and stated that the information would show that.
“The Confidential Files, however, state that Ms. Boylan resigned voluntarily,” the report states — even noting that one of many paperwork included a complete part labeled “Ms. Boylan’s Resignation.”
Vlasto, in the meantime, “testified that he had supported disclosing the Confidential Files as long as it was legally permissible because the Confidential Files provided ‘relevant context for the reporters,’ ‘given that Lindsey [Boylan] was making accusations of harassment,’” in accordance to the report.
For his half, Cuomo was unaware of the tactic till after the information had been launched, no less than in accordance to DeRosa.
She testified that she “only notified the Governor about releasing the Confidential Files to the press after the Executive Chamber did so, because she wanted to protect
him from any criticism.”
Cuomo advised investigators that “he did not recall having been in any conversation about disclosing the Confidential Files, and that he only learned about it after the fact from the press,” in accordance to the report.
The report even included a March 2021 diary entry by an unidentified writer of one of many confidential information, detailing their response to the data’ launch.
“When Azzo[pardi] released my 2018 HR type memo about the Lindsay’s exit counseling session I was surprised and not surprised at the same time,” the writer wrote. “I knew that senior workers had the paperwork and my information from that point, however I used to be not advised it was going to the press till after it was out.
“Also I thought it was attorney client privilege and I assumed I would have been told if the Governor decided to waive that privilege,” the entry continued. “I additionally was type of shocked as a result of I didn’t suppose it was a terrific rebuttal to what she [Boylan] was saying—the counseling session didn’t have something to do with sexual harassment (there was none alleged on the time) . . . I used to be nonetheless not ready for a way extensively my memo went out—I used to be dismayed when my memo was picked up in papers actually all over the world and domestically—
“[T]his was not how I wanted to find my name in People Magazine.”
Just two days after Boylan alleged that Cuomo had sexually harassed her, the governor personally wrote a draft of a proposed open letter or op-ed piece pushing again on the accusations and attacking Boylan’s fame, the report said, citing the testimony of staffers together with DeRosa.
Drafts of the piece variously touched on the contents of the personnel data, “alleged interactions between Ms. Boylan and male colleagues other than the Governor,” and “theories about [Boylan’s] connections with supporters of President Trump and a politician with an alleged interest in running for Governor.”
Cuomo testified that he didn’t recall personally penning a letter, however acknowledged providing his enter on drafts circulated across the workplace.
DeRosa suggested Cuomo towards publishing the letter, “in part because the draft included information that was based on hearsay and secondhand sources” she felt could be tough to again up with proof.
When few former Cuomo staffers expressed curiosity in signing on to the letter, plans for its publication had been scrapped.
In a video rebutting the report on Tuesday, Cuomo again denied touching anyone inappropriately, whereas persevering with to apologize for what he has characterised as misinterpretations of his phrases and actions by his accusers.
Azzopardi didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon the report’s findings pertaining to Boylan’s information and the the proposed letter.