Updated Aug 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Cuomo's top aide Melissa DeRosa resigns

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (L) speaks during his daily news conference with Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa (R) on March 20, 2020 in New York City

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (L) and Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, at a news conference in March 2020 in New York City. Photo: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images

Melissa DeRosa, the top aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), announced Sunday night that she's resigning from her role as secretary to the governor.

Why it matters: DeRosa's resignation comes days after N.Y. Attorney General Letitia James office released a report finding that Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women. DeRosa was mentioned multiple times in the report. Cuomo's attorneys have denounced James' findings.

  • "CBS This Morning" is due to air on Monday morning an interview with Brittany Commisso, who has filed a criminal complaint accusing Cuomo of groping her.
  • Commisso, referred to in the state attorney general's report as "Executive Assistant #1," names DeRosa, among other staff, in her allegations concerning Cuomo and what James' report describes as "a hostile work environment for women."

The big picture: DeRosa joined Cuomo's administration in 2013 and rose to became one of his most trusted aides and fiercest defenders. She is the first senior aide to Cuomo to resign in the wake of the sexual misconduct allegations.

  • Cuomo strongly denies any wrongdoing and has refused to step down, despite calls for his resignation from leading Democrats including President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
  • James' report notes that "Executive Assistant #1" claimed she was "terrified" that if DeRosa or another key aide learned of her accusations she would lose her job.
  • Investigators also found that DeRosa asked a lawyer for "a full file" on former aide Lindsey Boylan after she alleged in a tweet that Cuomo was "one of the biggest abusers of all time."

What they're saying: DeRosa did not mention the allegations against her or Cuomo in a statement to news outlets late Sunday, but said: "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," DeRosa added.
  • Representatives for Cuomo did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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