CNN host Chris Cuomo used his connections in the media business to gather information about the female victims of his brother Andrew Cuomo, who was accused of sexual harassment while serving as governor of New York.
While the TV pundit has admitted to helping his brother navigate the allegations, documents published by the New York Attorney General’s Office Monday reveal that Chris Cuomo was much more actively engaged in the governor’s damage control efforts than he has previously admitted.
For example, Chris Cuomo was in regular touch with Melissa DeRosa, his brother’s former top aide, as the sexual harassment allegations continued to pile up, exhibits from the Attorney General’s probe and a transcript of his interview with the state’s investigators show. DeRossa regularly texted Cuomo asking whether he knew when damaging articles were expected to be published and Cuomo typically responded by saying that he would reach out to his media connections to gather the requested information.
In one instance, Chris Cuomo divulged to investigators that he reached out to associates of journalist Ronan Farrow to get updates on his preparation of an exposé of the governor’s sexual misdeeds. Despite insisting that it was only “business- as-usual” communications, Cuomo’s new revelation nonetheless contradicts his earlier on-air claim in which he said: “I never made calls to the press about my brother’s situation.”
On March 15, DeRosa asked if the talking head had obtained any “intel” into Farrow’s project, to which Chris Cuomo said that the reporter was still working on it, according to text messages released by state investigators. Farrow’s piece was published on March 18.
When a lawyer in the state investigation asked Chris Cuomo if he remembered members of the governor’s staff discussing Farrow’s reporting, he suggested that it was a significant topic of conversation, according to the transcript of their exchange.
“They were very concerned and it kept moving. What they thought it was about was moving, when it was coming out was moving,” Cuomo said. “When Ronan Farrow writes something, people in the media are going to talk about it.”
The anchor also said he spoke with his brother about Farrow’s article.
“Just asking him, you know, how he – how he felt about it, what was in it. And him asking me what did I think the impact of it was,” he said. “He said that he didn’t think the article was fair, that she was being propped up and – you know, that’s it.”
After the New York Times story broke in March detailing how Cuomo attempted to kiss a woman, Anna Ruch, at a wedding, Chris Chris Cuomo texted DeRosa: “I have a lead on the wedding girl.”
On another occasion Cuomo reached out to DeRosa to ask if he could help prepare his brother to deliver a public statement addressing the allegations.
“Please let me help with the prep,” Chris Cuomo wrote to DeRosa in early March. He went on to draft a statement which he wanted his brother to deliver publicly. The governor ultimately released a statement which matched the one he drafted nearly verbatim.
Since the release of the new documents Monday showing Chris Cuomo’s interaction with media contacts to help shield his brother from investigative trouble, CNN, the network that employs Chris Cuomo, said the materials “deserve a thorough review and consideration.”
“We will be having conversations and seeking additional clarity about their significance as they relate to CNN over the next several days,” the media company wrote in a statement.