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NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo and top aide Melissa DeRosa face legal probe into $5.1million book deal


NY Governor Andrew Cuomo and his recently departed top aide Melissa DeRosa could be in trouble over his controversial COVID memoir.

New York State Assembly’s Judiciary Committee had ‘detailed discussions’ Monday about Governor Andrew Cuomo’s $5.1million book deal and is investigating the role his top aide, Melissa DeRosa, played in the deal.

As part of its impeachment inquiry into the governor, the committee was looking to determine if Cuomo ‘improperly used state resources’ to write his book.

They are believed to be looking into whether staff at Cuomo’s governor’s mansion in Albany were asked to work on the book during regular working hours.

Doing so would mean they used taxpayer-funded time to work on a private enterprise, and in doing so broke the law.  

Sources told the New York Post that lawyers have evidence of tax-payer resources being used to prepare the memoir, which is titled American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.

‘There’s no question that the lawyers have evidence about using taxpayer resources to prepare the manuscript,’ a source told the newspaper. ‘They clearly have evidence and interviews with staff about Melissa DeRosa instructing them to help with the manuscript.’ 

The New York State Assembly’s Judiciary Committee is investigating whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo (left) and top aide Melissa DeRosa (right) utilized taxpayer resources to prepare and promote his COVID-19 memoir

Allegedly, DeRosa instructed Cuomo staffers to ‘help with the manuscript for Cuomo’s book being pitched to publishers’. 

DeRosa, fellow top aide Stephanie Benton and several junior staffers reportedly assisted the governor with the book which shares how he led the fight against COVID-19 in New York, which was once the epicenter of the pandemic.

The probe into Cuomo's $5.1million book deal is part of the Judiciary Committee's impeachment inquiry

The probe into Cuomo’s $5.1million book deal is part of the Judiciary Committee’s impeachment inquiry

David Weprin, a state assemblyman and Judiciary Committee member, said outside lawyers are looking into the allegations that Cuomo used state workers to prepare and promote the book.

‘That’s government 101. You can’t do non-government work on government time,’ Weprin told The Post. ‘That’s stuff our lawyers are looking at. No question.’ 

Cuomo’s spokesperson and senior advisor Rich Azzopardi says the idea that any criminal activity occurred during the production of the book is ‘absurd’ and just the ‘furthering of a political pile-on’.

He claims NY state workers helped with the book voluntarily and on their own time.  

‘As I previously said, any state official who volunteered to assist on this project did so on his or her own time and without the use of state resources. To the extent a document was printed, it was incidental,’ said Azzopardi. 

The committee hopes to wrap up its investigation ‘with all due haste’ and have the articles of impeachment drafted in the next few weeks. 

New York State Assembly’s Judiciary Committee member Charles Lavine said on Monday that the committee will hold two executive sessions to discuss its ongoing impeachment inquiry of Cuomo on August 16 and August 23, followed by at least two public hearings, where experts will be called to testify on sexual assault and harassment and the impeachment process itself. 

It is unclear at this time when an impeachment vote would actually be held. 

Meanwhile, DeRosa, 38, announced her resignation from her role as Secretary to the Governor of the State of New York in a statement on Sunday that notably did not mention Cuomo. 

With Cuomo facing pressure to resign and the threat of impeachment after the New York Attorney General’s report branding him a sex pest, DeRosa reportedly believed he had no path to stay in office, and was no longer willing to stand up for him in public. 

Lawyers have reportedly have evidence that former Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa (pictured) instructed staffers to assist with the manuscript

Lawyers have reportedly have evidence that former Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa (pictured) instructed staffers to assist with the manuscript

The governor's (pictured) spokesperson says the idea that any criminal activity occurred during the production of Cuomo's book is 'absurd' and just the 'furthering of a political pile-on'

The governor’s (pictured) spokesperson says the idea that any criminal activity occurred during the production of Cuomo’s book is ‘absurd’ and just the ‘furthering of a political pile-on’

‘It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve the people of New York for the past 10 years,’ DeRosa said in a statement. ‘New Yorkers’ resilience, strength and optimism through the most difficult times has inspired me every day.

‘Personally, the past two years have been emotionally and mentally trying. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such talented and committed colleagues.’ 

New York Attorney General Letitia James released a report last week accusing Cuomo of sexually harassing 11 women. Nine of the accusers are either current of former state employees. 

Sources say James’ report was more scathing and damaging than his top aides, including DeRosa, had expected. 

Cuomo has not been seen in public since James’ report was released last Tuesday.

The governor released a pre-recorded video statement where he denied having ever ‘touched anyone inappropriately’ suggesting James’ investigation had been politically motivated.

He is said to be keen to hang on to his job, although will almost certainly be kicked out when a planned impeachment gets underway.  



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