A high communications supervisor at Fb helped Gov. Andrew Cuomo struggle sexual misconduct allegations — together with by serving to leak confidential information about accuser Lindsey Boylan and by collaborating in common discussions about Cuomo’s communications technique, in keeping with the New York legal professional basic’s bombshell investigation.
Dani Lever — who had labored in Cuomo’s press operation since 2014 however left in August 2020 to be a part of Fb as a communications supervisor — performed a key function in Cuomo’s communications technique even whereas working for Fb, in keeping with the investigation launched Tuesday.
In December 2020, former Cuomo staffer Lindsey Boylan turned the primary of a number of ladies to accuse the governor of sexual harassment. Hours later, Cuomo communications director Wealthy Azzopardi determined to ship Boylan’s confidential personnel information to a number of journalists in what investigators known as an try to “discredit and disparage” her.
In response to the legal professional basic’s report, Lever helped Cuomo’s staffers disseminate the information — regardless that she had already been working at Fb for months.
“Ms. Lever coordinated with among the reporters who acquired the paperwork to allow them to know that the Govt Chamber could be sending them,” reads the report.
The smear try got here amid Lever’s broader participation in Cuomo’s protection as a part of a “staff of advisors from inside and outdoors the Chamber [who] had ongoing and common discussions about how to reply to the allegations publicly” that additionally included Cuomo’s CNN host brother Chris, in keeping with the legal professional basic. Lever’s identify seems 25 instances within the legal professional basic’s report.
Reached by telephone, Lever instructed The Publish she couldn’t speak as a result of she needed to attend a gathering. Lever and Fb’s broader press staff didn’t instantly reply to questions despatched by e mail, together with about whether or not Lever had Fb’s permission to work with the governor.
Within the days after Boylan first accused Gov. Cuomo of misconduct, the governor’s staff reportedly labored on a draft letter or op-ed that included complaints in opposition to Boylan from her confidential personnel information, in addition to unspecified interactions between the accuser and her male colleagues. Drafts of the letter additionally “impugned her credibility” and steered that she could possibly be working with supporters of then-President Donald Trump and a politician who needed to unseat Cuomo as governor, in keeping with the legal professional basic’s investigation.
Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa then allegedly despatched a model of the letter to a number of individuals together with Lever, asking her to signal it.
Lever — who served as Cuomo’s first ever feminine press secretary in 2016 — declined to place her identify on the letter, suggesting that it amounted to “sufferer shaming,” in keeping with the investigation.
Nevertheless Lever signed a distinct assertion in help of Cuomo in February, disputing Boylan’s accusation that the governor steered they play “strip poker” whereas on a taxpayer-funded jet in 2017.
“We had been on every of those October flights and this dialog didn’t occur,” Lever stated in a joint assertion with different former and present aides John Maggiore, Howard Zemsky and and Abbey Fashouer Collins.
Investigators additionally stated that Lever was copied on inner emails about communications technique and took part in at the very least one convention name with Cuomo staffers.
Within the damning report — which has led to requires Cuomo’s resignation from President Joe Biden and Democratic New York Metropolis mayoral nominee Eric Adams, amongst dozens of different politicians — investigators counsel that Lever and different outdoors advisors loved an inappropriate degree of entry to Cuomo.
“None of them was formally retained in any capability by the Govt Chamber or any of the people concerned,” the investigators wrote of Lever, Chris Cuomo and different outdoors advisors. “Nonetheless, they had been repeatedly supplied with confidential and sometimes privileged details about state operations and helped make choices that impacted State enterprise and staff — all with none formal function, obligation, or obligation to the State.”
Lever joined Fb to handle the corporate’s responses to breaking points associated to merchandise and insurance policies as a part of a staff known as Strategic Response Communications, the New York Every day Information reported final yr when she left Cuomo’s workplace.
Previous to becoming a member of Cuomo’s workplace in 2014, Lever labored as a press assistant for President Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential marketing campaign and labored in press relations on the Clinton Basis, amongst different roles, in keeping with her LinkedIn profile.