A senior aide to the New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, resigned Sunday following a report by a state attorney general that the governor sexually harassed 11 women.
Melissa DeRosa, the governor’s secretary, was linked in the report to efforts to cover up the governor’s actions and retaliate against one of his accusers.
“Personally, the last two years have been emotionally and mentally difficult. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such talented colleagues on behalf of our state, ”DeRosa said in a statement.
The report found that Cuomo groped, kissed or made suggestive comments to 11 women in violation of the law, prompting local prosecutors to launch a criminal investigation and reigniting calls for him to resign or be charged.
The report described DeRosa as a central figure in Cuomo’s office’s retaliation against one of the women, Lindsey Boylan, after she became the first person to speak publicly.
DeRosa, who often defended Cuomo when faced with public criticism, had been in the administration since 2013. She was given the title of “secretary to the governor” in 2017 and was probably the most recognizable face in the administration after Cuomo. .
She appeared by his side at most of his briefings and often answered policy questions from reporters.
So far, Cuomo has resisted widespread calls for him to resign, including from fellow Democrats like President Joe Biden, but he could soon face impeachment and impeachment from state lawmakers.
The judicial committee of the New York State Assembly has scheduled a meeting to address impeachment proceedings on Monday at 9:30 a.m. EDT (1330 GMT).
Meanwhile, a former aide who filed a criminal complaint against Cuomo last week on allegations that he groped her at the Executive Mansion in Albany is speaking publicly for the first time in a televised interview set to air Monday, saying the governor “Needs to be retained.” responsable “.
Brittany Commisso, one of 11 women Cuomo is accused of sexually harassing, was identified only as “executive assistant # 1” in the report.
He told state investigators that Cuomo stroked his chest on one occasion, the most serious charge facing the governor. He also said he rubbed her butt while taking a picture of her.
Last week, he filed a criminal complaint with the Albany Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Craig Apple told reporters Saturday that his agency and the county district attorney’s office would conduct a thorough investigation before determining whether to support a criminal charge.
In an interview with CBS News and the Albany Times-Union that is scheduled to air Monday morning, Commisso said it released the report to hold Cuomo accountable for his actions.
“What he did to me was a crime,” he said in an excerpt published by CBS on Sunday. “He broke the law.”
Cuomo has denied wrongdoing, although he has acknowledged that his efforts to be affectionate to the people he meets may have made some people uncomfortable.
Her attorney, Rita Glavin, told reporters Friday that Commisso’s account was false, citing emails and other documentary evidence that she said undermines her story.
In another excerpt posted by CBS, Commisso said the occasional hugs and kisses on the cheek intensified when Cuomo once quickly turned his head and kissed her on the lips.
However, she “didn’t say anything” at the time, Commisso said.
“People don’t understand that this is the governor of the state of New York. There are soldiers who are outside the mansion and there are personnel from the mansion. Those soldiers who are there are not there to protect me. They are there to protect him, ”Commisso said.
With Reuters and Associated Press