New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top aide Melissa DeRosa resigned late Sunday, less than a week after the release of a report from the state attorney general that found Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women.
“It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve the people of New York for the past 10 years. New Yorkers’ resilience, strength, and optimism through the most difficult times has inspired me every day,” DeRosa secretary to the governor said in a statement obtained by CNN.
“Personally, the past 2 years have been emotionally and mentally trying. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such talented and committed colleagues on behalf of our state,” she said in the message, which did not mention Cuomo.
DeRosa’s resignation comes on the eve of a meeting of the state Assembly’s Judiciary Committee that could deliver a timeline for Cuomo’s potential impeachment. The 38-year-old, who held the highest-ranking appointed position in the state, appeared throughout New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ August 3 report, in which investigators concluded that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, including current and former state employees. The report detailed a “toxic” workplace environment under Cuomo and said that environment allowed for his allegedly harassing behavior to go overlooked. It also highlighted alleged instances of retaliation against at least one accuser.
Cuomo has denied the allegations, saying last week that he “never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.”
The report detailed DeRosa’s role in seeking to discredit one of Cuomo’s accusers, Lindsey Boylan, by leaking personnel records and taking part in an effort to write and release a letter questioning Boylan’s character. The document was never made public.
“With respect to legal questions relating to how a complaint should be handled, or whether personnel records could be provided to the public, Ms. DeRosa consulted with and relied upon advice of experienced counsel,” attorney Sean Hecker said in an emailed statement.
CNN has reached out to Hecker for additional comment.
In February, DeRosa came under scrutiny for her role in the administration’s underreporting of Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes last year.
In a private virtual conversation with lawmakers, DeRosa said the administration had not provided them with information requested months earlier because Cuomo’s team had been concerned about a preliminary inquiry from former President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice, according to a transcript of the conversation that was subsequently released by the governor’s office.
“And basically, we froze,” DeRosa told Democrats on the call, “because then we were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice or what we give to you guys, what we start saying was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation.”
DeRosa accused Trump of turning the nursing home issue into a “political football” and then directing “a political hack” at the Justice Department to begin an inquiry into New York and other Democratic-led states.
A different report from James’ office released in January found that New York had underreported Covid-19 deaths among residents of nursing homes by approximately 50%.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the response DeRosa has made to the attorney general’s report. She has responded to the allegations via her attorney. The story also has been updated with additional information.