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Friday, September 24, 2021

New York Governor Cuomo’s Secretary Resigns

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Melissa DeRosa, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s secretary, resigned on Sunday in the wake of a state attorney general report alleging that the governor sexually harassed 11 women.

According to the report, she was involved in efforts to conceal the governor’s actions and retaliate against one of his accusers. In the 168-page report released on Tuesday, her name was mentioned 187 times.

“Personally, the past 2 years have been emotionally and mentally trying. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such talented colleagues on behalf of our state,” said DeRosa in a statement.

Cuomo groped, kissed, or made suggestive comments to 11 women in violation of the law, according to the report, prompting local prosecutors to open a criminal investigation and reigniting calls for his resignation or impeachment.

Cuomo has so far defied widespread calls to resign, including from fellow Democrats like President Joe Biden, but he could be impeached and removed from office by state lawmakers soon.

On Monday at 9:30 a.m. EDT (1330 GMT), the New York State Assembly’s Judiciary Committee will meet to discuss impeachment proceedings (1330 GMT).

Meanwhile, in a televised interview to be broadcast on Monday, a former assistant who filed a criminal complaint against Cuomo last week on allegations that he groped her in the Executive Mansion in Albany is speaking publicly for the first time, saying the governor “needs to be held accountable.”

Brittany Commisso, one of the 11 women accused of sexual harassment by Cuomo, was only identified in the report as “executive assistant #1.”

She admitted to state investigators that Cuomo fondled her breast on one occasion, the governor’s most serious accusation. Additionally, she stated that he rubbed her backside while photographing her.

She filed a criminal complaint with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office last week. Craig Apple, the sheriff, told reporters on Saturday that his office and the county district attorney’s office would conduct a thorough investigation before deciding whether a criminal charge is warranted.

Commisso stated in an interview with CBS News and the Albany Times-Union that will air on Monday morning that she filed the report to hold Cuomo accountable for his actions.

“What he did to me was a crime,” she said in an excerpt released by CBS on Sunday. “He broke the law.”

Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing, though he has admitted that his attempts to be affectionate with people he meets may have made some people uncomfortable.

Rita Glavin, his lawyer, told reporters on Friday that Commisso’s storey was fabricated, citing emails and other documentary evidence that she claims to contradict her story.

Commisso said in another excerpt released by CBS that Cuomo’s occasional hugs and kisses on the cheek escalated when he quickly turned his head and kissed her on the lips.

Yet 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 troopers that are outside of the mansion and there are some mansion staff. Those troopers that are there, they are not there to protect me. They are there to protect him,” Commisso said.

Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

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