According to the Wall Street Journal, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s aides were instructed to call at least six former staffers to the governor to gather information on Lindsay Boylan, Cuomo’s first accuser of sexual harassment.
The former staffers said they were asked if they had recently communicated with Boylan, leading some of them to think that the motivation behind the calls was to try to discredit the governor's accuser. Some of them said that by the time they got the call, they hadn't heard from the governor's office in months, saying they felt the call was an intimidation tactic.
Ana Liss, one of Cuomo's former aides, told the WSJ that Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to Cuomo, called and reminded her of her accomplishments during her time as a staffer, he then asked whether or not she had spoken to Boylan.
“I felt intimidated, and I felt bewildered,” she said.
Azzopardi responded to the allegations, telling the WSJ that “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," he continued. "As a result, we proactively reached out to some former colleagues to check in and make sure they had a heads up.”
Boylan responded to Azzopardi's comment via Twitter.
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.— Lindsey Boylan (@LindseyBoylan) March 12, 2021
“After Boylan’s tweets her lawyers and members of the press began reaching out to former members of the Chamber, many of whom never worked with her. “ https://t.co/i1BO4gzLnf
In February, Boylan wrote a tell-all piece in which she accused the Cuomo administration of harboring a culture that condoned sexual harrassment, she also alleged that the governor asked her to play strip poker during a flight, and at one point set up an inappropriate one-on-one meeting during her time as a staffer.
Since Boylan came forward, five other women have accused the embattled governor of inappropriate sexual behavior.
Cuomo is also under investigation for underreporting nursing home COVID-19 deaths in an attempt to protect his administration from a Department of Justice probe. New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) is leading both investigations.
Cuomo has yet to accept responsibility for his behavior, but has apologized for any inappropriate comments and claimed his actions were misinterpreted. The governor has also stated he will not resign, amid growing calls for his impeachment on both sides of the aisle.