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Melissa DeRosa: Ghislaine Maxwell prosecutor's daughter-in-law shamed victims as Andrew Cuomo secy

'She is a ruthless, heartless, evil human being who will rip your heart out in order to get what she wants,' an insider said about Melissa DeRosa
Audrey Strauss (C), the lead prosecutor in Ghislaine Maxwell's trial, is also the mother-in-law of Melissa DeRosa (L) (Twitter/@melissadderosa, Spencer Platt and Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
Audrey Strauss (C), the lead prosecutor in Ghislaine Maxwell's trial, is also the mother-in-law of Melissa DeRosa (L) (Twitter/@melissadderosa, Spencer Platt and Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

The lead prosecutor in the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell is also the mother-in-law of Melissa DeRosa, who served as secretary to the former governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo.

Former acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, is reportedly the lead prosecution lawyer in the Maxwell trial. Besides, she is only the second woman to lead the Southern District prosecutor’s office in its over 200-year-old history. Maxwell will be tried on six counts, including conspiracy to send girls and young women to engage in illegal sexual activity with Jeffrey Epstein.


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Ghislaine Maxwell attends day 1 of the 4th Annual WIE Symposium at Center 548 on September 20, 2013 in New York City (Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

When Maxwell was arrested on July 2, 2020, Strauss said, “as alleged, Ghislaine Maxwell facilitated, aided, and participated in acts of sexual abuse of minors. Maxwell enticed minor girls, got them to trust her, and then delivered them into the trap that she and Jeffrey Epstein had set. She pretended to be a woman they could trust.  All the while, she was setting them up to be abused sexually by Epstein and, in some cases, Maxwell herself. Today, after many years, Ghislaine Maxwell finally stands charged for her role in these crimes.” Strauss is married to John 'Rusty' Wing, a defense attorney. The couple has four children. Her son, Mathew Wing, an Uber executive, married Melissa DeRosa in 2016.

Who is Melissa DeRosa?

DeRosa hails from Albany, New York, and is a former student of Albany Academy for Girls. She is also an alumnus of Cornell University and had managed former President Barack Obama's national political organization before becoming deputy chief of staff and acting chief of staff for New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in 2011. In March 2013, she became director of communications for Cuomo, later becoming strategic adviser, and in 2015 was appointed Chief of Staff. She became one of Cuomo's closest advisers after getting promoted to Secretary to the Governor of New York in 2017. She is the first woman to have been appointed to the role.

Then-New York Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa speaks during a COVID-19 briefing on July 6, 2020 in New York City (Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

In 2017, she spoke publicly about her experience with sexual harassment and encouraged women to "speak up and speak out" after becoming the chair of the New York State Council on Women and Girls. However, she soon became embroiled in a number of scandals while working for Cuomo. She was accused of playing a part in an alleged effort to prevent state officials from releasing the exact number of nursing home deaths related to Covid-19.

The New York State Attorney General also named DeRosa in an August 3, 2021 report alleging that had a significant role in alleged efforts to discredit a woman who has accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. At the time she said that she had acted in accordance with the legal counsel received by her. On August 8 this year, she resigned as secretary to Cuomo. 

The downfall of Melissa DeRosa

We reported earlier that from discrediting women who accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, to creating a "toxic, abusive" workplace environment, DeRosa has been dubbed as one of the biggest Cuomo loyalists. She was reportedly close friends with GOP Representative Elise Stefanik from her school days, but her "ferocious dedication" to Cuomo even destroyed her friendship with the No. 3 House Republican. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (L) speaks during his daily news conference with Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa (R) on March 20, 2020 in New York City (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

“She is a ruthless, heartless, evil human being who will rip your heart out in order to get what she wants,” an insider said about her. A source close to Cuomo's office asserted that DeRosa has "more enemies" than even the governor himself. People who have worked for her or have met her do not have many positive things to say about her.  A former Executive Chamber from the NY Governor's office described her as "the worst person I have ever worked for in my entire professional career.” They further added, "She doesn’t have time for niceties. She doesn’t have time to get to know you as a person. You are either an individual who gets something done for her — or you’re in her way.” “I would have to think long and hard to find anyone who would say nice things about her. She doesn’t treat people well. She would dress people down for no reason or over minor stuff,” another former employee told New York Post about her. 

DeRosa tried to discredit former Cuomo aide and his very first accuser Lindsey Boylan. Investigation revealed that DeRosa leaked complaints from Boylan's personnel file to reporters. She even justified her action by citing Boylan's furious tweets about the governor where she dubbed him as "one of the biggest abusers of all time". She engaged in victim-shaming and circulated an op-ed by Cuomo which contained "personal and professional attacks" on Boylan. A state trooper who accused Cuomo of unwanted touching and offensive remarks was also discredited by DeRosa. She even went to the extent of trying to kill her story by yelling at an editor of Albany Times Union.