A political consultant working for then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo texted a group of his aides and advisers about rumors he’d “been sleeping with people he works with for decades,” a text message from the sexual harassment probe that forced him from office reveals.
The March 3 text was sent by Lis Smith to 10 of Cuomo’s closest confidantes — including top aide Melissa DeRosa, spokesman Rich Azzopardi and two government lawyers, Beth Garvey and Judith Mogul — on the same day he finally addressed the mounting allegations against him.
“Yeah its good. But all depends on what else comes out,” the message said.
“He has been sleeping with people he works with for decades I have been told. Consent when power is involved is complicated. As is flirtation.”
The text is contained in hundreds of pages of documents tied to Smith — an ex-girlfriend of scandal-scarred former Gov. Eliot Spitzer — that were compiled by outside lawyers working for state Attorney General Letitia James, who released the records on Monday.
According to a July 5 interview transcript also released by James, Smith told investigators that the words weren’t actually hers, but had been copied and pasted from an email or text message sent to her by a Washington Post reporter.
“Have you heard anything about the Governor sleeping with people he works with for decades?” lawyer Abena Mainoo asked.
“Have I? No. Except from this reporter,” Smith testified.
“Did you ask…for any additional context?” Mainoo asked.
“No,” Smith answered.
Smith also testified that she was sure those were the reporter’s words “because I remember that conversation well.”
Smith, previously a senior adviser to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 presidential campaign, added: “That’s not language that I myself would use. It’s just not how I talk.”
Smith’s messages also show her describing, in real time, how she was texting with Katy Tur of NBC News earlier on March 3.
“Katy is saying my spin live,” she gloated.
“Like verbatim on cnn.”
Peter Ajemian, then Cuomo’s communications director, texted a heart emoji before pollster Jefrey Pollock corrected Smith.
“She means MSNBC,” Pollock told the group.