Aides for New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo have called former staffers in a potential effort to discredit a former employee who has accused the governor of inappropriate behavior, according to a news report.
The Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday that Cuomo’s office purportedly called at least six former employees shortly after former economic adviser Lindsey Boylan accused the governor of sexual harassing her.
The calls were purportedly to learn whether the ex-staffers had heard from Boylan or get information about her.
Some of the former staffers were purportedly made uncomfortable by the call.
"I felt intimidated, and I felt bewildered," said Ana Liss, a former aide to the governor who received one of the calls.
Liss, who earlier this month accused Cuomo of inappropriate behavior, said senior Cuomo adviser Rich Azzopardi called her in late December 2020, eight days after Boylan, in a tweet, began alleging the governor sexually harassed her.
Boylan has said Cuomo made inappropriate comments at work and kissed her without consent.
The effort to contact former staffers was led by top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa, people familiar with the effort told The Journal.
Azzopardi says DeRosa did not organize the calls and suggested they were in response to Boylan, her lawyers and reporters calling the governor's office after the tweet.
"As a result we proactively reached out to some former colleagues to check in and make sure they had a heads up," he said.
The Hill newspaper, which has also reported on the calls, has reached out to Cuomo's office for comment. Six women in recent weeks have accused the governor of inappropriate behavior, which has resulted in calls for him to resign and in part has also resulted in at least one government probe.