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Time's Up leader quits following criticisms about Cuomo ties

Time's Up tweeted that it was in agreement with Roberta Kaplan's decision to step down as chairperson of the board of directors.

New York's attorney General released a report last week stating that Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women. These allegations threaten Cuomo's career and put him at risk of criminal charges as well as impeachment.

Kaplan is a woman's rights advocate with a law practice. She counseled the administration when Cuomo was confronted last winter by the first harassment allegations. These were made by Lindsey Boylan, an ex-economy development advisor.

Kaplan and Alphonso Dave, the leader of the Human Rights Campaign were consulted about a Cuomo administration letter that attacked Boylan's credibility. David and Kaplan agreed to read the letter.

According to the report by the attorney general, Kaplan informed the administration that the letter could be sent out if there were some minor adjustments. David refused to sign the letter, but he agreed to reach out to other people to find out if they would. However, other advisers said that it was a bad idea and the letter was never widely distributed.

Kaplan's role as an advisor to the Cuomo administration shocked victims of sexual assault and others. Time's Up supporters in the past sent an open letter Monday requesting an investigation. They claimed that Time's Up leaders were aligned with abusers at their expense.

The letter stated that "TIME'S up should be ashamed".

Alison Turkos, an activist who organised the letter, stated that victims of sexual assault feel abandoned by purported advocates working on the other side.

"How are they telling survivors, We're safe space for you.' But behind closed doors, you are giving abusers a playbook on how to cover-up and retaliate to your victims?" Turkos asked. The letter was signed by many victims, including Charlotte Bennett, who is a Cuomo accuser.

Kaplan stated in her resignation letter that she had "reluctantly reached the conclusion, that an active legal practice is not longer compatible" with being on the Time's Up board.

She said, "Unfortunately recent events have made clear that even our apparent ally in the fight to advance woman can turn out to be abusivers" -- referring to Cuomo’s public support for the #MeToo movement which included signing sweeping new protections against sexual harassment in 2019.

Kaplan was not only an advisor to the Cuomo administration but had also represented Melissa DeRosa (a top Cuomo aide) who resigned Sunday following the report by the attorney general that showed her to have played a central part in the attempt to retaliate against Boylan.

The Human Rights Campaign announced that it will launch an investigation into David's actions.

Kaplan co-founded Time's Up Legal Defense Fund in 2018, which assists women who have suffered from sexual harassment or discrimination at work.

In 2013, Edith Windsor was successfully represented by her before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case which struck down gay marriage laws across the U.S. was later published in "Then Comes Marriage."

Kaplan also represents E. Jean Carroll (writer), who in 2019 filed a defamation suit against Donald Trump over her claim that Trump raped her in a dressing room at a department store in the 1990s. Trump denied Carroll's claims.

In a Monday tweet, Carroll supported Kaplan.

Robbie Kaplan is and will always remain my attorney. She overturned DOMA, which brought about Gay Rights. She is fighting the Nazis in Charlottesville. She is leading the fight for gender equality in women’s sports. She is America's best lawyer! She wrote:

This report was contributed by Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press reporter from Philadelphia.

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