Friday, February 3, 2023

New details on the role of Chris Cuomo advising brother Andrew

NEW YORK (AP) – The transcripts released Monday shed new light on the behind-the-scenes role of CNN host Chris Cuomo advising his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, in the face of sexual harassment allegations that forced him to step down.

Chris Cuomo told investigators that he regularly spoke to his brother, exchanged text messages with his top advisors, and became obsessed with emails in February-March as they formulated responses to the allegations of several women.

He also offered to help try to find out through their “sources” if other women are going to speak, including perhaps finding out their identities.

Previously, the role of Chris Cuomo as an unofficial adviser to his brother was known. After some details of his work were highlighted in the August report of Attorney General Laetitia James, the journalist admitted that it was “a mistake” to engage in strategic calls with his brother’s group of advisers.

But the transcript of Chris Cuomo’s July interview with investigators, as well as the publication of 169 pages of emails, text messages, and other messages, offer more details about his involvement in shaping his brother’s message – and how he acts like a bulldog in sparring with senior aides in strategy. …

“I was worried that it wasn’t handled properly, and it’s not my job to deal with it, okay?” Chris Cuomo testified. “I don’t work for the governor. I am not defending him on this point. I will not talk about this. You know, this is not what I do. “

“I am worried about my brother and worried that this will be dealt with in the best way. And I felt that according to my basic mantra, you need to speak the truth and speak to them if you have something to say. And if you have something to own, you need to do it, ”he said.

Andrew Cuomo stepped down in August to avoid a likely impeachment trial following an independent investigation that found he sexually harassed at least 11 women.

Chris Cuomo, the host of CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time, defended himself by saying that he never reported Cuomo’s situation to CNN and never tried to influence the coverage.

“I tried to do the right thing,” the presenter said on the air in August, adding that “I did not control anything.”

A message to CNN representatives for comment was not immediately returned.

The transcript of Chris Cuomo’s interview was part of a new package of materials released Monday by the attorney general’s office, collected during months of investigations into the governor’s behavior with women.

This is the first time a copy of Governor Cuomo’s testimony has been released. Its transcripts were previously made public.

The attorney general also released transcripts or video interviews with several of Cuomo’s key aides and advisers, who described their efforts to protect him from harassment charges.

Former governor’s top aide Melissa DeRosa wiped away tears as she told investigators about the strenuous conservation she had in her car with Cuomo when she told him about his interactions with former aide Charlotte Bennett, who said she felt the governor was hitting her … Bennett said he also made her feel uncomfortable with unwelcome comments about her being sexually abused.

“I can’t believe you put yourself in a situation where you would have any version of this conversation,” DeRosa said, recalling what she said to Cuomo.

DeRosa said the car stopped at a traffic light and she got out of the car.

DeRosa said that following Bennett’s accusations, the governor’s administration no longer left Cuomo alone with junior staff.

DeRosa testified that the change was similar to the “Graham-Pence” rule, referring to former US Vice President Mike Pence’s practice of never being alone with a woman other than his wife. This policy was inspired by the preaching of former evangelist Billy Graham.

“She thought it was important that there were always two people together, if it was a junior employee, so that there weren’t any misconceptions or any conversations that could happen,” DeRosa said, referring to former Special Advisor Judith Mogul. … …


Villeneuve reported from Albany.

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