REPORT: NYU Law professor attempted to discredit Cuomo accuser
One NYU School of Law professor helped drum-up support for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in the wake of multiple women accusing him of sexual harassment, per the state's Attorney General's report.
The adjunct professor most recently taught an ethics course in 2020 and NYU says it is 'monitoring the situation.'
A New York University School of Law professor helped gather signatures for a letter that aimed to discredit one of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s sexual assault accusers.
According to a Tuesday report released by the New York Attorney General’s office, Linda Lacewell, an adjunct professor at NYU Law and Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services, helped gather signatures from former state Executive Chamber staff members for a letter that would have discredited Lindsey Boylan’s account that the governor sexually harassed her.
Yes, @NYGovCuomo sexually harassed me for years. Many saw it, and watched.
I could never anticipate what to expect: would I be grilled on my work (which was very good) or harassed about my looks. Or would it be both in the same conversation? This was the way for years.
— Lindsey Boylan (@LindseyBoylan) December 13, 2020
The report stated that the letter, which was ultimately never released, “denied the legitimacy of Ms. Boylan’s allegations, impugned her credibility, and attacked her claims as politically motivated.”
Ultimately, the Attorney General's report revealed that the governor had sexually harassed 11 women.
Drafts of the letter reviewed in the NY Attorney General’s investigation also contained information claiming that Boylan had “connections with supporters of President Trump” and also alleged that she had an “interest in running for governor.”
According to Lacewell’s profile, she is an adjunct professor at the New York University School of Law, where she teaches “ethics in government.” Lacewell taught “Ethics in Government: Investigation and Enforcement” at the NYU School of Law during the fall 2020 semester, which ended on December 18. The process of writing the letter discrediting Boylan began on December 15.
The course aimed to cover “the legal and ethical responsibilities of lawyers in public service.”
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Per the report, “various drafts” of the letter included “complaints against Ms. Boylan that were part of the Confidential Files,” as well as her interactions with “male colleagues other than the Governor.”
Lacewell, along with other state employees such as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Secretary Melissa DeRosa, “sent or read” drafts of the letter in support of Cuomo to various former Executive Chamber staff members and asked them to sign it.
However, the letter was not released because Dani Lever, Cuomo’s communications director, said that the letter was “victim shaming,” according to the report.
Additionally, according to the report, DeRosa was “unable to find factual support for parts of the letter.”
The group then shifted their efforts away from discrediting Boylan, and crafted of a statement from women sharing their “positive experiences of working with the Governor," the report states.
According to testimony from Rich Azzopardi, a senior advisor to Governor Cuomo, Lacewell helped draft the statement.
Lacewell was also involved in a “team of advisors” which had regular discussions beginning spring 2021 regarding how the governor should respond to the sexual assault allegations publicly.
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Bobby Miller, a former student at NYU and former president of the university’s College Republicans chapter, told Campus Reform that this is an “atrocious stain” on the university.
“It’s an atrocious stain on NYU that a professor would intervene in this matter to shield the governor from the law,” Miller said.
Michael Orey, the public affairs director for the NYU School of Law, told Campus Reform that the university is monitoring the situation.
“Linda Lacewell taught here in the past as an adjunct professor. She is not scheduled to teach in the coming academic year. We are aware of concerns that have been raised and are monitoring the situation,” Orey said.
Lacewell was also previously involved in rewriting a report detailing how many people died in nursing homes because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Campus Reform reached out to the New York State Department of Financial Services for comment but did not receive a response.