Chris Cuomo has been suspended indefinitely from CNN. He also allegedly used ‘sources’ to dig up dirt on his brother’s accusers, suggesting that he had a bigger role defending former Governor Andrew Cuomo from harassment allegations that forced him out of office.
Newly released transcripts and text messages show that Chris Cuomo offered to reach out to “sources,” including other reporters, to find out whether more women were going to come forward and relayed what he was hearing to his brother’s advisers. He was also getting in conflict with the former governor’s aides over strategy, urging an apologetic tone and critiquing an early statement that he saw as downplaying the allegations, which was followed by him accusing a top aide of hiding information from his brother.
He told investigators that at the same time he was regularly coaching his brother on his response and admonishing him for “bad judgment.”
Chris Cuomo admitted that it was a “mistake” to act as his brother’s unofficial adviser, but with Monday’s release of his July interview with investigators and 169 pages of text messages, emails and other communications, it became clear how much he was actually involved.
“Please let me help prep,” Chris Cuomo said in a message to then-secretary to the governor, Melissa DeRosa in early March. After the New York Times report detailing an alleged kiss by the governor, he texted DeRosa: “I have a lead on the wedding girl,” referring to a woman who accused his brother of unwanted touching at a wedding reception. And as rumors swirled that more women were about to come forward, after three days DeRosa texted Chris Cuomo: “Can u check your sources.” He replied, “On it.”
In the July deposition, Chris Cuomo said “When asked, I would reach out to sources, other journalists, to see if they had heard of anybody else coming out.”
Chris said that he doesn’t work for the governor, but he was worried: “I was worried that this wasn’t being handled the right way, and it’s not my job to handle it, okay? I don’t work for the governor.”
The host of CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time,” said he never reported on his brother’s situation for the network and never tried to influence coverage: “I tried to do the right thing. Wasn’t in control of anything.” said Chris on-air in August.
“We will be having conversations and seeking additional clarity about their significance as they relate to CNN over the next several days,” an official statement issued by the CNN network, adding that the transcripts and exhibits “deserve a thorough review and consideration.”
After the Albany Times-Union published an interview with an accuser, in a March 10 text message, Chris Cuomo accused DeRosa of keeping information from his brother: “Stop hiding s***. We are making mistakes we can’t afford,” Chris Cuomo wrote. When asked about that text Chris Cuomo explained he was telling her: “Don’t tell Andrew things,” saying that there were conversations that Andrew Cuomo wasn’t a part of that he thought it was important for him to stay very locked in on those.
On Monday DeRosa recalled confronting Andrew Cuomo during a car ride about the allegations. She told investigators that after one accuser came forward, they decided Cuomo would no longer be left alone with junior staff.
“I talked to Chris pretty regularly. He was on some calls that we did, and he advised us on how to respond,” DeRosa testified after she was asked about her exchanges with Chris Cuomo.