Attorney Roberta Kaplan has gained prominence in recent years as a central force behind the Time’s Up legal defense fund, which targets cases involving sexual harassment claims.
Amid widespread allegations against Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, however, Kaplan appears to have helped him silence one of his accusers.
“Impugned her credibility”
According to Fox News, the recent New York attorney general’s report on alleged sexual misconduct by the governor found evidence that Kaplan assisted the Cuomo team in going after Lindsey Boylan.
The accuser, who previously served as an aide to the governor, was among the first to come forward with allegations against him.
Cuomo and a group of his advisers are said to have drafted a letter to Boylen that “denied the legitimacy” of her allegations, “impugned her credibility, and attacked her claims as politically motivated,” according to state Attorney General Letitia James.
For her part, Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa testified that she was instructed by the governor to show the letter to Kaplan in order to seek her input.
“According to Ms. DeRosa, Ms. Kaplan read the letter to the head of the advocacy group [Time’s Up], and both of them allegedly suggested that, without the statements about Ms. Boylan’s interactions with male colleagues, the letter was fine,” James wrote.
“The women who came forward”
Kaplan reportedly gave the letter her seal of approval “with some changes,” though the attorney general stated that with a few exceptions, “everyone else thought it was a bad idea.”
James noted that Cuomo ultimately decided not to make the letter public because “people whom the Governor’s advisors asked to sign the letter were uncomfortable with what it said about Ms. Boylan.”
During his testimony, the governor reportedly defended the letter by comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln in declaring that the “writing process was cathartic for him.”
Time’s Up co-founder Tina Tchen issued a statement in response to the latest revelations, asserting that she “made no recommendations” to the Cuomo team but merely “shared the stance Time’s Up has always taken” in similar circumstances.
“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.”