CNN host Chris Cuomo was more deeply involved in crafting a defense strategy as his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, responded to allegations of sexual harassment, according to detailed records released Monday by the New York Attorney General’s office.
The records, part of a trove of exhibits that include text messages and emails as well as transcripts of his testimony, show the host was regularly in touch with some of his brother’s closest aides, including Melissa DeRosa, and repeatedly argued against the governor resigning during the early days of the sexual harassment accusations.
“Please let me help with prep,” Chris Cuomo texted DeRosa at one point in March.
Days later, after The New York Times published a report that said the then-governor tried to give a woman an unwanted kiss at a wedding, DeRosa asked Chris Cuomo to “check your sources,” encouraging the host to leverage his relationships as one of the nation’s preeminent journalists to help with his brother’s defense.
“On it,” Chris Cuomo replied at the time. At another point, he said he had been successful trying to identify the woman at the wedding.
“I have a lead on the wedding girl,” he texted DeRosa.
The messages add new insights into Chris Cuomo’s efforts to shepherd his brother through the allegations, which ultimately resulted in Andrew Cuomo’s resignation in August. The New York Attorney General, Letitia James, released a damning report before he stepped down, detailing claims by 11 women who said he acted inappropriately while in office.
A separate report by the New York State Assembly said earlier this month it found “overwhelming evidence” that Andrew Cuomo had engaged in sexual harassment, as well as evidence supporting claims he used state workers and resources to write his memoir about the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chris Cuomo said earlier this year that he had helped his brother amid questions about their relationship while he was on CNN, although he said he didn’t serve as an official adviser. Chris Cuomo also added that he urged his brother to step down as governor as revelations poured in.
In an interview with investigators, the journalist insisted that he never attempted to influence any stories or journalists while he was supporting his brother. If he had, Chris Cuomo added, “I guarantee you people would know.”
“I just know that as the situation started to accelerate, my brother asked me to be in the loop,” Chris Cuomo told investigators in July. He added later that he heard “more from my brother when he is in a particular time of need of my take on what’s happening.”
In a statement Monday, a CNN spokesperson said the documents released by the attorney general’s office “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 spokesperson said.