The New York State attorney general’s office has subpoenaed a number of aides to Governor Andrew Cuomo as part of its investigation into sexual-harassment allegations against him, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
One of the subpoenaed aides is Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, a top Cuomo ally who was heavily involved in the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, people familiar with the matter told the Journal. (DeRosa admitted to state lawmakers in February that the Cuomo administration misrepresented the number of coronavirus victims in state nursing homes.)
Ana Liss, a former Cuomo aide who has accused the governor of sexual misconduct, said investigators asked her about her interactions with DeRosa.
“They were trying to figure out if I was targeted by Melissa,” Liss told the Journal. Liss said she had sparing communication with DeRosa.
A lawyer for the Cuomo administration said it was “premature” to read into the actions of the investigators.
“No one should be surprised that the AG’s office is issuing requests for documents and interviewing witnesses, including many who work for the governor,” the lawyer, Paul Fishman, said in a statement. “That happens in every investigation, and it’s wildly premature to speculate what it means.”
Eight women have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, including former aide Lindsey Boylan, who alleged that Cuomo kissed her on the lips without consent, and an unidentified woman who says the governor groped her under her blouse. Cuomo has denied touching any woman inappropriately, but apologized for making suggestive comments.
The FBI is also investigating whether Cuomo aides presented false data on coronavirus in nursing homes to the U.S. Justice Department, the New York Times reported earlier this week. An analysis by the Empire Center found that Cuomo’s March 25, 2020, executive order requiring nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients discharged from hospitals may have led to over 1,000 additional deaths from the illness.