A Fb supervisor who as soon as labored for Andrew Cuomo secretly suggested the disgraced ex-governor’s crew to “sufferer disgrace” a sexual harassment accuser, in keeping with textual content messages launched this week by the New York Legal professional Basic’s workplace.
The Fb staffer then sought to cowl up her involvement in advising the governor, the messages reveal.
“Like I’m nervous about FB understanding I’ve been engaged on this and so forth and so forth.,” Dani Lever, the previous Cuomo staffer, wrote in March about her new employer. The identical night as that message, Cuomo spokesman Wealthy Azzopardi informed Lever he’d gotten her identify faraway from a information story that was set to come back out.
“Wealthy I may kiss you nevertheless it looks as if dangerous type this week,” Lever replied because the governor was embroiled in allegations he’d acted inappropriately towards staffers.
Each had been scrambling to assist Cuomo reply to the allegations that finally led to his resignation. Lever, who has labored for Fb since August 2020, advised the then-governor’s team for months, in keeping with the messages.
In a single occasion, Lever helped Cuomo aides determine how you can smear Lindsey Boylan, a Cuomo staffer who accused the governor of sexual harassment in December 2020.
“I believe we will sufferer disgrace on the report,” Lever wrote in a December 2020 message to Azzopardi and Melissa DeRosa, the governor’s No. 2. Lever additionally helped share Boylan’s personnel information with reporters, in keeping with the lawyer common.
Lever in contrast the “sufferer shaming” technique to how President Joe Biden responded to sexual misconduct allegations from former senate staffer Tara Reade throughout Biden’s 2020 marketing campaign, the texts present.
“This was a part of Biden’s response by the way in which. Biden camp mentioned ‘this totally didn’t occur’ then gave assertion,’” Lever wrote.
A number of days later, Lever quipped to Cuomo ally Linda Lacewell, “I nonetheless don’t know why we’re speaking to Gov lol. However I’m right here for the journey.”
Lever’s work for Cuomo even included confronting a former Cuomo staffer for “liking” a tweet from an accuser named Charlotte Bennett.
“You favored Charlotte’s tweet? Name me,” Lever mentioned in a collection of messages to the the ex-staffer, Andrew Ball, in February. “Was that on objective?? Are you able to in contrast to it.”
Ball then replied “accomplished” and Lever responded with a coronary heart emoji. Ball, who was now not working for Cuomo, informed investigators that he had un-liked the tweet as a result of he needed to protect his relationship with the governor and his crew.
The messages had been unearthed as a part of Legal professional Basic Letitia James’ investigation into sexual misconduct by Cuomo, which finally led to his resignation in August.
James has since periodically launched materials from her investigation in what Cuomo’s camp has sought to painting as a politically motivated bid to spice up her own campaign for governor.
Along with Lever’s messages, this week’s batch of paperwork additionally included a 449-page transcript of a deposition James’ investigators performed with Lever in June, after they grilled her about her work for Cuomo and why she saved it secret from Fb.
“It’s one thing that I used to be doing on my private time, and I might have most well-liked Fb to not learn about it,” Lever mentioned.
And whereas Lever testified that the majority of her behind-the-scenes work for Cuomo was accomplished with out Fb’s information, she added that she had gotten permission from her Fb supervisor to place her identify on a February letter disputing Boylan’s declare that Cuomo suggested they play strip poker while on a taxpayer-funded jet in 2017.
“I requested for permission,” Lever mentioned. “She was okay with it.”
Ethics specialists have raised issues that Lever’s work with Cuomo may put Facebook on the wrong side of New York lobbying laws, which ban registered lobbyists from giving presents value greater than $15 to public officers. Fb has been a registered lobbyist in New York since not less than 2019, in keeping with public information.
Since Lever works in communications, serving to Cuomo navigate a public relations disaster constituted an unlawful present, in keeping with David Grandeau, the previous prime ethics watchdog in New York state.
“Utilizing your skilled companies and offering them to a public official at no cost is a present,” Grandeau informed The Put up in September. “It’s a misdemeanor for her and it’s a misdemeanor for Fb. It’s a clear violation.”
Andy Stone, a spokesman for Meta — now the parent company for Facebook — declined to touch upon Lever’s work for Cuomo and the potential lobbying regulation violation. Azzopardi declined to remark. Lever didn’t reply to a request for remark.
Lever is among the few Cuomo confidantes who seem to haven’t confronted skilled penalties for his or her roles within the scandal.
Cuomo’s brother Chris was suspended from his CNN show on Tuesday after the lawyer common launched damning particulars about how he coordinated his brother’s protection — and different confidantes together with Human Rights Campaign head Alphonso David, Time’s Up executives Tina Tchen and Roberta Kaplan, in addition to a duo of managing directors at public relations firm Kivvit have all since give up their roles or been fired since James revealed her investigation in August.
After The Put up initially reported on Lever’s position in Cuomo’s protection, lawmakers together with Republican US Rep. Elise Stefanik and Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim known as on Fb to fireplace her. Kim additionally mentioned that “at a minimal” Fb ought to hire an outside law firm to investigate Lever’s role advising the governor — a step that was taken by the Human Rights Marketing campaign earlier than the group fired David.
Peter Ajemian, a former Cuomo staffer who helped the governor combat the sexual misconduct claims, scored a job at Apple over the summer. The corporate has not commented on his position within the Cuomo scandal.
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