Human Rights Campaign Investigating Director Alphonso David's Connections to Andrew Cuomo

The Human Rights Campaign announced Monday that they are launching an internal investigation into organization director Alphonso David and his inclusion in the attorney general's report in connection to Andrew Cuomo's sexual harassment case, the Associated Press reported.

"Over the past several days, HRC's employees, supporters, board members and partners have raised questions about the appropriateness of Alphonso David's actions and whether they align with HRC's decades' long mission of fighting for equality and justice for all," the HRC said in a statement.

David, a former legal counsel for the governor, was consulted by Cuomo's administration when he was first accused of harassment by Lindsey Boylan, a former economic development advisor.

For more reporting from the Associated Press see below.

Human Rights Campaign Internal Investigation
The Human Rights Campaign announced a launch of an internal investigation on director Alphonso David's connections to Governor Andrew Cuomo's harassment case. People wait in line to place a rose in front of a wreath at the Human Rights Campaign building, June 17, 2016 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

At the time, Boylan was alone in accusing Cuomo of misconduct and the governor and his administration had drafted a letter attacking her credibility and motives, with the intent of circulating it publicly. Time's Up leader Roberta Kaplan and David both agreed to review the letter.

A report by New York's attorney general, released last week, said Kaplan told the administration that with some adjustments, it would be fine to send out. David declined to sign the letter, but agreed to contact other people to see if they would.

Kaplan resigned Monday over fallout from her work advising Cuomo's administration when the first allegations of sexual harassment were made against him last year.

Kaplan cited her work counseling the administration last winter and her more recent legal work representing Melissa DeRosa, a top aide to Cuomo who resigned Sunday, nearly a week after a report by the state attorney general concluded that the governor had sexually harassed 11 women.

"I therefore have reluctantly come to the conclusion that an active law practice is no longer compatible with serving on the Board at Time's Up at this time and I hereby resign," Kaplan wrote in her resignation letter, according to The New York Times.

Messages went sent to Kaplan requesting comment on her resignation.

Kaplan was the Chair of the Board of Directors of Time's Up and cofounder of the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund, which aids women who have experienced sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

Other advisers, though, said that it was a bad idea and the letter was never widely disseminated.

Kaplan and Tina Tchen founded the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund in 2018 to provide legal defense for sexual violence victims.

She successfully represented marriage equality pioneer Edith Windsor before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013, winning the case that struck down laws against same-sex marriage across the United States. She later published a book about the case titled "Then Comes Marriage."

Kaplan also represents writer E. Jean Carroll, who filed a defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump in 2019 related to her claim that the former president raped her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s.

Kaplan is an adjunct professor at Columbia University Law School and was a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison before starting her own firm in 2017.

Human Rights Campaign Launches Internal Investigation
Roberta Kaplan poses for a photo in Atherton Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. The Time's Up leader resigned Monday, Aug. 9, 2021 over fallout from her work advising Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration when he was first hit with sexual harassment allegations last year. Kaplan cited her work counseling Cuomo and his former top aide, Melissa DeRosa, through the attorney general's investigation, according to The New York Times. D. Ross Cameron/Associated Press