Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top aide turned the tables on a failed-journalist ex-con from Brooklyn who became obsessed and started threatening her, The Post has learned.
Melissa DeRosa — the governor’s right-hand staffer and a fixture at his famous COVID-19 updates — had been getting increasingly worrisome aggressive Twitter comments from an account for months before things escalated this past weekend, sources said.
That’s when DeRosa, 38, started getting phone calls on her personal cell — culminating with him calling her a “c–t” and saying, “I’m gonna slice your p—y, you murderer,” sources said.
“It’s a little bit unnerving,” the usually unflappable DeRosa admitted, according to a source familiar with the situation.
The suspect was soon identified by law enforcement and sources as Gary Goldstein — whose LinkedIn page claims he did production work on everything from the “CBS Morning News” with Diane Sawyer” to “The NBC Today” with Brent Musburger in the 1990s before being sent up the river for six years for robbery. He also lists a gig as an editorial assistant at The Post for a few months in 1994 on his LinkedIn profile.
It’s unclear what exactly Goldstein’s beef was with DeRosa, although a neighbor told The Post on Tuesday that the iron-pumping suspect lived with his mom in Brighton Beach — till she went into a nursing home about 10 years ago.
Cuomo has been ripped by critics for his handling of nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic.
In the spring, during the height of the outbreak in New York, the governor’s Health Commissioner Howard Zucker ordered nursing homes to accept infected patients, which relatives of the elderly and infirm say led to unnecessary deaths.
Less than a week ago, Goldstein spat at Cuomo on his LinkedIn page, “Just about EVERYONE knows what a piece of garbage this corrupt murderer, #KillerCuomo is now!”
Goldstein also wrote, “I’m thrilled to announce that Janice Dean, and many others in the media who aren’t intimidated by you, will never stop holding you under the fire for murdering over 12,000 innocent, elderly nursing home residents, until you, and Dr. Howard Zucker, finally admit what you did, and are held accountable,” referring to the TV meteorologist Dean, who lost in-laws in nursing homes to COVID-19.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo walks with top aide Melissa DeRosa.Richard Harbus
Goldstein was arrested over the weekend on aggravated-harassment charges involving DeRosa and is being held while awaiting arraignment, officials said.
DeRosa first grew concerned in August when she and even some of her Twitter followers noticed that Goldstein was getting increasingly angry in his tweets to her, sources said.
“The tone … was absolutely harassing and aggressive, more so than the usual Twitternoids,” a source said. “It was menacing, and it was this person clearly intending to scare and be aggressive, and it was elevating.”
DeRosa blocked Goldstein and thought nothing more of it — till Saturday afternoon, sources said.
That’s when the aide got a call from an unknown number while in the car with her family headed to dinner. DeRosa at first thought it could be the governor, sources said.
She picked up the phone, and the male caller asked, “Is this Melissa DeRosa?”
The Cuomo aide replied, “Yes.”
The guy said, “This is Dan Rather calling.”
He then “started saying some crazy things, like, ‘your tweets are inappropriate’” and hung up the phone, a source said.
But the man soon called back, repeating, “Melissa, Melissa, Melissa” in a menacing way, the source said.
Melissa DeRosaKevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
The fourth time, DeRosa put the call on speaker and said, “Hello?”
The man spewed, “Melissa DeRosa, you c–t! I’m gonna slice your p—y, you murderer, do you hear me?” the source said.
DeRosa immediately called the state police, sources said.
The cops were able to trace the call and soon after nabbed Goldstein.
DeRosa, who is seeking an order of protection, declined comment to The Post.
Goldstein says in online postings that addictions got the better of him in explaining his prior robbery bust.
When he got out of prison, the suspect — whose Facebook page includes cheesy shots of him posing like a body builder — wrote a book called “Jew in Jail.”
The self-published paperback, which sells for $28 on Amazon, “seeks to relive the author’s life peaks and pitfalls into alcohol, drugs and gambling and his time spent in prison in order to teach readers a tough lesson: “that addiction doesn’t discriminate,” according to Goldstein’s web page.
He says he is now an “addiction and recovery expert” as well as a “motivational and inspirational speaker.”
He has been arrested at least eight previous times, including in 1993 for drugs, then escalating to robbery, domestic harassment and violation of an order of protection in 2006 and domestic violence in 2018, NYPD sources said.
“He was nice. But you could tell something was wrong,” a neighbor told The Post on Tuesday.
The resident and two sources familiar with the situation involving DeRosa identified Goldstein as the man linked to the online accounts. Law enforcement confirmed his address and robbery-conviction details.