Last year, as allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct were first surfacing against then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, his top aides worked behind the scenes to respond. 

A personnel file of Lindsay Boylan, one of the first women to accuse Cuomo of harassment, was leaked to the media. A letter was circulated around the office attesting to the governor's good behavior. And, as the scandal began to mount into 2021, Cuomo took on outside advisors that included his CNN anchor brother Chris Cuomo. 

Attorney General Letitia James' office on Monday released more transcripts that were part of the investigation Cuomo that ultimately led to his resignation on Aug. 24.

He is due in Albany County Court in January to answer to a charge of forcible touching stemming from a groping allegation at the Executive Mansion last year.  

Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing. 

James' office previously released transcripts of Cuomo's testimony as well as the transcripts of testimony by several of the women who had accused Cuomo of misconduct. 

The transcripts released on Monday by the attorney general paint a picture of a governor's office focused on using its resources to respond to what would become a cascade of allegations against Cuomo. 

The effort drew in Chris Cuomo, as well as pollster Jeff Pollock, political consultant Lis Smith, former Cuomo aides Alphonso David, Rich Bamberger and Josh Vlasto. 

Text messages show Chris Cuomo working with top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa on shaping statements to the press and using his sources to determine when potentially damaging stories were going to break about his brother.

And other instances, Chris Cuomo was also searching for more information about the women who made allegations against the governor. 

"I have a lead on the wedding girl being put up to it," Chris Cuomo wrote in one text, alluding to one of the women who was photographed with his brother's hands touching her face. 

Chris Cuomo also forwarded documents to a Cuomo advisor about another woman who had made an accusation against the governor, Charlotte Bennett, pertaining to her time in college. 

The efforts to respond to the allegations began earlier in the year in an effort to stem what would turn into an insurmountable controversy for the three-term governor. 

Aides leaked personnel files to the press that detailed the circumstances of Boylan's departure, including details of complaints about her own management. The files had been in the possession of David, who at that point was the president of the prominent LGBTQ advocacy group The Human Rights Campaign. 

Cuomo adviser and spokesman Rich Azzopardi told investigators the file was released in order to "correct the record" about Boylan's departure. 

But those who have studied sexual harassment law call it a textbook example of retaliation. 

"When you see this happen, when you see someone's personnel records be openly shared amongst the press as a form of retaliation, when you see things like that happen, that tells other people keep your mouth shut," said Sen. Andrew Gounardes, a Brooklyn Democrat who sponsored measures meant to bar retaliation. 

Efforts by powerful people to tap into a network of prominent allies is not new, Gounardes said. 

"This is all about power. This is about manipulating and abusing power and lording your power over someone else to the point where they are helpless to stop it," he said. "That's what this all about at the core, this type of behavior." 

James' office also released videotaped interviews with Cuomo and top aide Melissa DeRosa. Cuomo denied playing any role in responding to the allegations.  

"No one ever suggested that we were doing it or would do it," he said. "So no."

And he lashed out at the investigators themselves, accusing them of unsubstantiated conflicts of interest. 

"The concept of you as the resolution to the conflict as an independent reviewer is bizarre to me," he said. 

Azzopardi in a statement accused James of releasing the transcripts as part of a political motivation as she runs for governor.

“New Yorkers are no one’s fool and James and her colleagues’ obvious misuse of government resources to damage political opponents is as obvious and repugnant as it is unethical and illegal," he said.