January 24, 2022

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Chris Cuomo Played Outsize Role in Andrew Cuomo’s Defense

2 min read

In a statement after Monday’s release, Richard Azzopardi, a spokesman for the former governor, accused Ms. James, who is now running for governor, of acting out of political malice toward Mr. Cuomo — a stance that he and the former governor’s lawyers have repeatedly taken in the months since the report was issued in an attempt to undermine its conclusions.

“To the surprise of no one, Tish James continues abusing her government power to leverage her political future — prosecutorial misconduct, ethics and integrity be damned,” Mr. Azzopardi said. “Today’s manipulated release of handpicked witness testimony with selective redactions is typical.”

The newly released records included copies of text and email messages, as well as transcripts of depositions with many of Mr. Cuomo’s closest aides, including Ms. DeRosa, as well as current and former legal counselors like Steven M. Cohen, Alphonso David and Jill DesRosiers.

Replete with stories of screaming matches, cursing and deep mistrust, they collectively paint a portrait of the kind of toxic work culture that many of those testifying before the attorney general’s team were trying to undercut as they fought to maintain their boss’s job and their own.

“I trust no one,” Ms. DeRosa told many of her closest confidants in a text exchange, by way of explaining why she — and not an assistant — was sharing call-in details for a strategy call. In another message released by investigators, Ms. DeRosa describes berating two people, including one nicknamed “sponge” who was among Mr. Cuomo’s accusers.

“I’m on a real roll,” she said, adding: “In my defense, everyone sucks.”

In one instance, investigators asked Mr. Azzopardi to say whether or not the governor had ever pelted him with apricots in a fit of rage. He claimed the story, which was relayed in the testimony of another unnamed staff member, was false.

“Are you serious?” Mr. Azzopardi said. But he also testified: “He’s yelled at me. I’ve yelled back at him, but it was fine.”

Nicholas Fandos, Michael Gold, Grace Ashford and Dana Rubinstein

2021-11-29 19:49:34

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