Cuomo aides called former employees in attempt to discredit accuser: report

Aides for New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoHochul raises .6 million since launching gubernatorial campaign Former aide says she felt 'abandoned' by Democrats who advanced Garcetti nomination as ambassador to India De Blasio says he won't run for New York governor MORE (D) called former staffers in attempts to discredit one of the former employees who accused the governor of inappropriate behavior, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Cuomo’s office reportedly called at least six former employees shortly after he was first accused of sexual harassment by former aide Lindsey Boylan to find out if they had heard from the accuser or to get information about Boylan.

Some of the former staffers told the Journal that they felt the calls were an intimidation tactic.

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Boylan revealed details of her accusation in February, accusing Cuomo of making inappropriate comments at work and kissing her without consent.

People familiar with the effort to contact former staff told the Journal that the effort was led by Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor.

One former aide, Ana Liss, said that Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to Cuomo, called and reminded her of how much she accomplished during her tenure with Cuomo. She told the journal that the call ended on a good note when she told him she hadn’t received messages from Boylan.

Azzopardi told the Journal “after Ms. Boylan’s tweets in December, she, and her lawyers and members of the press began reaching out to former members of the Chamber, many of whom never worked with her. Those former members of the Chamber called to let various staff people know and convey that they were upset by the outreach. As a result, we proactively reached out to some former colleagues to check in and make sure they had a heads up.”

He further said the calls weren’t coordinated by DeRosa, and that the outreach “happened organically when everyone’s phone started to blow up.”

Boylan responded to Azzopardi on Twitter after the Journal’s story published, saying, “I didn’t have a lawyer. I just had the full force of state government against me @RichAzzopardi. You are a liar and a fraud."

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The Hill has reached out to Cuomo’s office for comment

The report comes after New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D)  authorized an impeachment investigation into Cuomo over the allegations and his handling of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.

Both the harassment claims and the nursing home case are being investigated by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D).

Six women have come forward accusing Cuomo of sexual misconduct, one while on the job. The most serious allegation of groping by an unnamed aide was referred to the Albany Police Department.

Cuomo has denied the allegations against him and has resisted mounting calls to resign from his own party.