An experienced journalist for The New York Times behaved inappropriately toward Andrew Cuomo’s then-top aide before his reporting uncovered the disgraced former governor’s alleged sexual misconduct, they say The Washington Post.
The revelation of Jesse McKinley’s alleged misconduct – and what follows Just Investigations that led to his transfer – reported Erik Wemple, a media critic for the post. The incident and investigation will be detailed in former employee Melissa DeRosa’s upcoming memoir. The book, What remains unsaid: My life at the center of power, politics and crisisshould hit shelves next Tuesday.
It says so postDeRosa tells how Cuomo’s team battled with reporters covering his administration, including McKinley, then the Just“Albany Bureau Chief. After a particularly controversial exchange between the two men during a press conference on May 20, 2020, DeRosa called McKinley to a “clearing the air meeting,” Wemple writes.
Given the ongoing pandemic, they arranged to meet in McKinley’s backyard. Both drank at the meeting; But while DeRosa says she didn’t drink more than two glasses of wine, she watched McKinley drink more than one bottle alone. At the end of the meeting, as she was about to leave, the reporter stopped her.
According to her report, McKinley asked DeRosa if her eyes were blue or green. When DeRosa responded “Blue,” McKinley disagreed. “Are you sure? I think they look green,” he said. He then grabbed her wrist and pulled her closer to him, allegedly telling her to “stay longer.” After a few seconds, DeRosa pulled her arm back and left.
McKinley did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Tuesday. A representative for DeRosa, a former employee of The Daily Beast, declined to comment post‘s report.
Four people in an interview with the newspaper said DeRosa told them about the encounter shortly after it happened. All four said that Just failed to contact her during an investigation into the incident that was launched after DeRosa’s lawyers filed a complaint with The New York Times.
Wemple’s column did not say exactly when the official complaint was filed, but McKinley published it early the next year an exclusive story Documents another Cuomo aide’s allegations of the governor’s sexual “advances” toward her. McKinley continued to cover mounting allegations of misconduct against the governor until Cuomo’s resignation in August 2021.
Danielle Rhoades Ha, a spokesperson for The New York TimesThe Daily Beast said in a statement after this story was published that an “independent, outside investigation did not substantiate Ms. DeRosa’s characterization of events.”
“After the investigation, the Just and McKinley agreed that reassignment to a new clock was advisable,” the statement said. “We also supported his decision to enter a substance abuse program.”
According to Rhoades Ha, a noticeable gap in McKinley’s byline emerged in the spring and summer of 2021, which coincided with the majority of his treatment. His five-year tenure as Albany office manager came to a quiet end in July 2021, when a Just The press release stated that he would become “Metro’s roving hinterland correspondent.”
The post also reported Tuesday that at least three additional cases of alleged misconduct by McKinley under the influence of alcohol were identified.
A former New York state politician told Wemple that McKinley was drunk and ate from her plate at a dinner with her in 2019. As another person at the table left, McKinley turned to the politician and said, “You’re super cute,” the woman said.
A former state official also claimed that McKinley once grabbed her butt in an Albany bar and later made faces at her.
According to DeRosa’s book, a drunken McKinley eventually approached another Cuomo staffer in his office. The reporter reportedly apologized for the incident via email the next day.
An unnamed insider is quoted by the post As a Just Source” said that McKinley refuted the latter two claims and did not recall the details of the 2019 dinner.
In his statement he said Just told that post, “We take all allegations very seriously and are reviewing the new accounts.”