Chris Cuomo previously admitted it was a “mistake” to advise his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on his sexual harassment scandal, newly released records show the CNN anchor held a larger role in his brother’s defense than previously known.
Chris Cuomo used his media “sources” and “other journalists” to look into the women who accused his brother of sexual harassment, according to dozens of transcripts, video interviews and text messages released Monday by the New York Attorney General’s Office.
The younger Cuomo, for example, spoke to a friend about allegations from Anna Ruch, who accused the now ex-governor of touching her on the lower back, touching her face and asking to kiss her at a wedding in 2019. “I have a lead on the wedding girl,” Chris Cuomo texted the former governor’s top aid Melissa DeRosa on March 4, three days after Ruch made the allegations to the New York Times.
Text message records between Chris Cuomo and DeRosa also show that the TV journalist leveraged his connections to find out if more women were going to come forward against his brother.
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“When asked, I would reach out to sources, other journalists, to see if they had heard of anybody else coming out,” Chris Cuomo told the state’s investigators in a July deposition, according to a transcript of his interview.
On March 7, as rumors swirled that more women were about to come forward, DeRosa texted Chris Cuomo: “Can u check your sources.” He replied, “On it.”
Ronan (Farrow) a lot,” to get information about Farrow’s upcoming article, and didn’t tell anyone at CNN what he was doing. He told DeRosa the article wasn’t ready for publication, but Chris Cuomo never contacted Farrow directly.
CNN said Monday that the news organization was reviewing the documents and transcripts.
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Andrew Cuomo resigned in August to avoid a likely impeachment trial, after an investigation led by state Attorney General Letitia James found he sexually harassed at least 11 women. At the time, Chris Cuomo acknowledged on air that he gave his brother advice on the sexual harassment allegations against him and revealed he urged the governor to resign.
“I’m not an adviser. I’m a brother,” he said on his CNN show “Cuomo Primetime.” “I was there to listen and offer my take. And my advice to my brother was simple and consistent: Own what you did. Tell people what you can do to be better. Be contrite. And finally, accept that it doesn’t matter what you intended. What matters is how your actions and words were perceived.”
But Monday’s records show that Chris Cuomo sparred with the former governor’s aides over strategy, urging an apologetic tone and critiquing an early statement that he saw as downplaying the allegations.
release of the new information is a “manipulated release of handpicked witness testimony with selective redactions,” said Rich Azzopardi, Andrew Cuomo’s spokesperson on Monday.
Contributing: Sarah Taddeo, Democrat Chronicle; Michael R. Sisak and Marina Villeneuve, The Associated Press
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