In a statement, Ms. Kaplan said, “We were among a group of people asked for thoughts on a public response to Ms. Boylan’s allegations when they first came out in December 2020. While it turns out the response was never published, I made it very clear that any response should never shame an accuser. Given the revelations in the N.Y. A.G.’s report, I support and agree with Time’s Up that Governor Cuomo should resign.”
“It appears that we’re being used as cover,” Ms. Tchen said in an interview Thursday, noting that she had not been contacted by the attorney general’s investigators. “We certainly did not greenlight any sort of attack on survivors. We would never do that.”
Though the letter was never published, the attorney general’s report said a reporter saw a draft of it, and parts of it were communicated to another reporter. (The New York Times obtained draft copies of the letter and emails discussing it after the attorney general’s report was released Tuesday.)
Sean Hecker, Ms. DeRosa’s lawyer, said in a statement that she “consulted with and relied upon advice of experienced counsel” when deciding whether personnel records “could be provided to the public.” Ms. DeRosa told investigators she notified Mr. Cuomo about the personnel files after they were leaked in order to protect the governor from criticism. But other staffers said they assumed the governor — known as a hands-on manager, especially when it comes to press strategy — had approved the disclosure.
“We were shocked at the scope of the conspiracy to discredit Lindsey,” said Jill Basinger, a lawyer for Ms. Boylan who has said that Ms. Boylan intends to sue the governor and his advisers for their conduct.
The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Some in Mr. Cuomo’s inner circle thought the letter would backfire. In an email to Ms. DeRosa, Annabel Walsh, who was Mr. Cuomo’s scheduling director, gave a list of reasons not to make it public. The first was simply “Don’t do this.” Dani Lever, the governor’s former press secretary, said that the letter would be “victim shaming.”
There was also some understanding among Mr. Cuomo’s advisers that the letter could be seen as retaliatory, according to Ms. DeRosa’s testimony. It was certainly seen that way by other potential accusers, including the executive assistant who said Mr. Cuomo reached into her blouse and groped her breast.