Disgraced New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and a charity that helps supports victims of sexual assault are being represented by the same law firm, it has emerged.
Both the governor, who is facing increasing calls to resign in the wake of a scathing 168-page attorney general’s report saying that he sexually harassed 11 women while in office, has contracted legal firm Arnold and Porter.
It is the same company that represents Time’s Up, a charity that raises money to support victims of sexual harassment which was set up in the wake of the Me Too movement.
According to financial disclosure forms obtained by FOX News, the Time’s Up Foundation – the organization’s ‘industry and impact arm’ – has spent over $100,000 on legal services with the firm in 2019.
Time’s Up Now, Inc., the lobbying end of the charity, meanwhile, paid $454,000 on legal fees with Arnold and Porter in 2019 and more than $719,00 in 2018.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, meanwhile, hired the firm to represent him in March as he first started facing claims of sexual harassment.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing in the sexual harassment scandal
Time’s Up, a charity that raises money to support victims of sexual harassment, has reportedly spent hundreds of thousand of dollars in legal fees with Arnold and Porter – the same law firm Gov. Cuomo hired to defend himself against sexual harassment claims – over the past few years
Gov. Andrew Cuomo hired Arnold and Porter to represent him in March as he started to face sexual harassment claims. The firm’s New York office is pictured here
The news comes after it was revealed that two of the Time’s Up founders helped the embattled governor draft a letter seeking to discredit allegations from one of his sexual harassment accusers.
Cuomo’s staff reportedly sought the help of Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund founder Roberta Kaplan and Time’s Up CEO Tina Tchen while drafting a letter denying allegations made against the governor by former Cuomo aide Lyndsey Boylan.
Boylan had been the first of Cuomo’s accusers to come forward publicly in February with allegations that Cuomo had sexually harassed her, making comments on her looks and at one point asking her if she would play a game of strip poker with him.
The alleged involvement of Tchen and Kaplan in Cuomo’s denial letter, was revealed in Attorney General Letitia James’ report, released on Tuesday, which found Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women.
In her 165-page report, James stated that a group of advisors for Cuomo last December, sought to pen a letter that, ‘denied the legitimacy of Ms. Boylan’s allegations, impugned her credibility, and attacked her claims as politically motivated.’
Staff for Gov. Andrew Cuomo recruited the help of Time’s Up co-founders Roberta Kaplan (left) and Tina Tchen during an effort to discredit allegations of sexual harassment by former Cuomo aide Lyndsey Boylan
Boylan (pictured) had been the first of Cuomo’s accusers to come forth publicly with allegations that he sexually harassed her. In the weeks before she went public with the accusations, staff for Cuomo sought to draft a letter discrediting her claims, and asked Kaplan and Tchen for help crafting it
Top Cuomo Aide Melissa DeRosa testified that Cuomo initially drafted the letter by hand, although the governor testified that he did not ‘remember handwriting any document,’ but that he ‘participated in drafts.’
The letter was intended to be sent to former colleagues of Boylan and Cuomo for them to sign, and then published, possibly as an op-ed.
DeRosa testified that she had misgivings about the letter, and worried that it would ‘backfire,’ so Cuomo asked her to reach out to Kaplan for input.
‘According to Ms. DeRosa, Ms. Kaplan read the letter to the head of the advocacy group Times Up [Tchen], and both of them allegedly suggested that, without the statements about Ms. Boylan’s interactions with male colleagues, the letter was fine,’ James said in her report.
Staff for Cuomo, however, continued to have misgivings, except for Cuomo ally Steve Cohen, who had said with some edits ‘it would be acceptable.’
‘Ms. DeRosa reported back to the Governor that Ms. Kaplan and the head of Times Up thought the letter was okay with some changes, as did Mr. Cohen,’ the report read, ‘but everyone else thought it was a bad idea.’
Ultimately, the letter was never published, after Cuomo’s staff was unable to find enough people willing to sign it, according to James.
‘Several people whom the Governor’s advisors asked to sign the letter were uncomfortable with what it said about Ms. Boylan,’ she said in her report, adding that one said the letter ‘amounted to “victim shaming,”‘ and another remarked ‘This entire thing is castigating her.’
Kaplan has since said that her input to Cuomo’s office was that the letter should not in any way shame Boylan.
Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa had sought out Kaplan’s help in drafting the letter, who in turn consulted with Tchen. Kaplan is now representing DeRosa in the attorney general investigation. Ultimately the letter was never published
Details of the attempt to assemble the letter discrediting Boylan’s accusations are contained in the 165-page attorney general report
‘While it turns out the response was never published, I made it very clear that any response should never shame an accuser,’ she told the Washington Post. ‘Given the revelations in the New York Attorney General report, I support and agree with Time’s Up that Governor Cuomo should resign.’
Tchen said she did not remember the particulars of the letter in regards to what she discussed with Kaplan, but denied that she would take part in an effort to discredit an accuser.
‘You cannot make any attempt to attack or discredit a person who has come forward with allegations,’ she told the outlet. ‘Had those parts existed in what was read to me, I would have said, “Do not say that.”‘
In a statement sent to the Hollywood Reporter Tchen further doubled down on her stance.
‘Before any allegations were made against Governor Cuomo, in 2019, Time’s Up worked with his administration to pass the Time’s Up/NY Safety Agenda. In December 2020, Tina was asked to give her perspective on a public response to Ms. Boylan’s allegations,’ she told the outlet.
‘Although Tina made no recommendations as to what he should do, she shared the stance Time’s Up has always taken in these matters. She was clear that any response coming from the Governor’s office addressing the allegations would be insufficient and unacceptable if it did not acknowledge the experiences of the women who came forward, and that it should in no way shame or discredit the women.’
Cuomo’s three attorneys – Paul Fishman, Mitra Hormozi – who represent the Office of the Governor – and Rita Glavin – who represents Cuomo personally – spoke at a press conference which the Governor live streamed on his state website but did not appear at
Meanwhile, Cuomo’s attorneys doubled-down on claims that the attorney general’s report was flawed in a news conference on Friday, with Paul Fishman, a partner at Arnold and Porter, saying the entire Executive Chamber was blindsided by the report and only received it when Letitia James first made it public Tuesday morning.
He and Cuomo’s other attorneys said they had still not received all of the evidence that went into the report despite asking for it, including interview transcripts of witnesses.
One allegation that they picked out was that of ‘Executive Assistant One,’ who alleges he groped her breast.
Cuomo’s attorneys say it’s not true and that official logs from the day in question don’t support the executive assistant’s allegation.
They also say she was lying about details like a door ‘slamming’ because it would have created an ‘echo’ that other staffers would have heard but didn’t.
They lawyers also said that Boylan asked for her job back in September 2018 and that should prove she is lying.
‘Did you know that Lindsey Boylan asked for her job back four days after she quit?
‘And that she then asked the Governor to intervene? Emailed his assistant and asked to speak with him but he didn’t return her call.
‘Why didn’t the investigators put this in their report?’ Cuomo’s personal lawyer, Rita Glavin, said.
The lawyers also said that they would respond to allegations made by one of the two State Troopers included in the report – who claims Cuomo ran his finger down her back, touched her belly and harassed her after recruiting her to his private detail – even though she wasn’t qualified for the job – at a later date.
But Glavin rejected the idea Cuomo hired her because he found her attractive and instead said he was ‘impressed’ when he met her at a party that she ‘maintained eye contact with him’ and ‘was assertive’.
Glavin at first claimed the trooper was still on Cuomo’s detail then, when corrected by a reporter who said she knew that she wasn’t, admitted that she didn’t know.
‘That’s new news you’re telling me,’ she said.
She insisted that no one was going to retaliate against the accusers now because ‘the world is watching.’
THE ‘LIES’ CUOMO’S ATTORNEYS SAY ARE IN REPORT
Rita Glavin, attorney for the Governor and one of three to speak at Friday’s press conference, accused state investigators of conducting an unfair investigation into the claims.
‘The governor deserves to be treated fairly and he must be. That did not happen here. This was one-sided. And he was ambushed,’ she said.
Glavin said investigators with the New York Attorney General’s office failed to conduct an ‘open-minded’ inquiry and accused them of acting ‘as prosecutors, judge and jury.’
She also outline what she said were issues with the accounts of two of the 11 women.
Lindsey Boylan asked for her job back after quitting over sexual harassment
On Friday, the attorneys said that Lindsey Boylan asked for her job back four days after quitting in September 2018 after being allegedly sexually harassed, and that should prove she is lying
They also said that she was driven not by honesty but by political ambition and that some of her associates had teamed up with Letitia James
Executive Assistant #1 says she was groped in the mansion in November 2020
‘This woman’s story as stated in the report is false,’ Glavin said.
Executive Assistant #1 said a door slammed but no one heard it – and official logs don’t match her story, the attorneys claimed.
The attorneys say official logs from that day account for the Governor’s movements, that he had no time to haul her into his office and that she wasn’t there for long enough.
They also said that she lied about a door slamming because the building is old, it would have created an echo and no one heard it.