Thursday, January 27, 2022

Chris Cuomo’s off-air role: Brother Andrew’s strategist

NEW YORK (AP) – CNN host Chris Cuomo has played more than previously known in protecting his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, from sexual harassment charges that forced him out of office, recently released transcripts and text messages.

According to materials released Monday, the TV reporter offered to contact “sources”, including other reporters, to see if other women were going to speak, and relayed what he heard to his brother’s advisers.

He also argued with the former governor’s aides over the strategy, calling for an apologetic tone and criticizing an earlier statement that he believes downplays the accusations. He accused his top aide of withholding information from his brother.

At the same time, Chris Cuomo told investigators that he regularly spoke to his brother, teaching him the answers and rebuking him for “misjudging.”

Chris Cuomo previously admitted that acting as his brother’s informal advisor was a “mistake,” but the full extent of his involvement – including using journalistic contacts to identify accusers – only became clear after Monday’s July 169-page interview with investigators was published. text messages, emails and other messages.

“I was worried that it wasn’t handled properly, and it’s not my job to deal with it, okay?” According to the transcript, Chris Cuomo informed investigators. “I don’t work for the governor.”

Andrew Cuomo stepped down in August to avoid a likely impeachment trial after an investigation by State Attorney General Letitia James found he had sexually harassed at least 11 women.

Chris Cuomo, host of CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time, said he never brought his brother’s situation to the network and never tried to influence the coverage. On air in August, he said, “I tried to do the right thing,” adding that “I had no control over anything.”

CNN released a statement saying the transcripts and exhibits “deserve careful study and consideration. “

“Over the next few days, we will be negotiating and seeking additional clarity on their meaning as they relate to CNN,” the statement said.

Jane Curtley, director of the Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota, said journalists need to understand that they are working for the public, not for politicians.

Kirtley said Chris Cuomo’s involvement in counseling his brother is inappropriate, and since they are brothers, “it might be time for him to find another job.”

She urged CNN to address the issue immediately, saying, “You cannot act as if this is not happening. You are a news organization.

Releases released Monday show Chris Cuomo becoming disenchanted with his brother’s advisers who are trying to respond as more women come forward with accusations of harassment.

The presenter insisted on being more involved in writing his brother’s message and offered his own investigative journalism to find out what other charges might be looming.

On March 4, Chris Cuomo wrote to Senior Aide Governor Melissa DeRosa, saying, “I have information about the girl at the wedding,” referring to the woman who accused his brother of unwanted touching at the wedding reception.

On March 7th, as rumors began to circulate that more women were going to perform, DeRosa wrote to Chris Cuomo: “You can check your sources.” He replied: “About this.”

“When asked, I went to sources, other journalists, to see if they had heard of anyone else speaking,” Chris Cuomo said in a July testimony.

On one occasion, Chris Cuomo said he called a journalist who regularly worked with reporter Ronan Farrow to get information about an upcoming article by Farrow and did not tell anyone on CNN what he was doing. He told DeRose that the article was not yet ready for publication.

In a text message dated March 10, Chris Cuomo lashed out at DeRos, accusing her of hiding information from his brother after the Albany Times-Union published an interview with the prosecutor.

“Stop hiding d …” wrote Chris Cuomo. “We make mistakes we can’t afford.”

When questioned in his testimony about this text, Chris Cuomo explained that he told her, “Don’t tell Andrew anything.”

“There were conversations in which he did not participate, and I thought it was important for him to stay on top of these conversations,” testified Chris Cuomo.

This latest installment of investigative material released by James’s office includes a video of Andrew Cuomo’s testimony in July – the transcript was released about three weeks ago – and transcripts or video of interviews with several of Cuomo’s aides and advisers.

James’s office said they did not initially publish them because local prosecutors were checking them for possible criminal behavior. After a criminal case was filed against Cuomo last month giving him access to the material through discovery, James’s office said it would make it publicly available “to ensure full transparency.”

The posts were made on an ongoing basis – first with transcripts of the former governor and prosecutors on November 10 and Monday with his brother, aides and other figures – to allow time for editing to protect privacy, James’s office said.

DeRosa, in an interview published on Monday, recalled facing off against Andrew Cuomo while driving over the allegations. She told investigators that after one prosecutor spoke out, they decided that Cuomo would no longer be alone with junior staff.

When asked about her exchanges with Chris Cuomo, DeRosa testified, “I talked to Chris quite regularly. He was on some of our calls and advised us how to answer. “

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Villeneuve reported from Albany. Associated Press reporters Jennifer Peltz, David Bauder and Talia Beaty in New York and Michael Hill in Albany contributed to this report.

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Follow Michael Sisak on Twitter at twitter.com/mikesisak and Marina Villeneuve at twitter.com/reportermarina.

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