News, Culture & Society

NY AG releases transcript of Chris Cuomo being questioned over brother’s harassment allegations

Newly-released texts of CNN host Chris Cuomo reveal how he helped pen his brother Andrew’s sex pest rebuttals and used sources to dig up dirt on accusers, despite denying ‘closely advising’ his brother.

Bombshell documents released Monday by the New York Attorney General’s office also revealed that Cuomo told investigators he had ‘irregular contact’ with Andrew Cuomo’s top aide Melissa DeRosa, despite records showing they exchanged dozens of messages.

DailyMail.com has reached out to CNN regarding Cuomo’s involvement on advising his brother, but the network has refused to comment.

Text messages released by Letitia James’ office detailed Cuomo’s role in his brother’s public relations crisis as he told senior members of the governor’s team, ‘we are making mistakes we cant afford.’

Amid the unfolding scandal, Cuomo crafted two statements for his brother, one regarding accuser Charlotte Bennett’s claims, and another on Andrew’s refusal to resign.

It appears his suggestions on the first draft response were ignored when Andrew Cuomo released a statement February 28 that differed from the one his brother put forward.

Cuomo texted DeRosa the same day to say: ‘What happened to the statement?’

He sent a follow-up message March 1.

It read: ‘Here’s what he should have said: “I have carefully considered Ms. Bennett’s statement and my own conduct. I don’t dispute that our conversation was as she reports. I also do not dispute that my words and supervisory position may have created a hostile work environment. I apologize to Ms. Bennett and will promptly seek to personally communicate my apology to her. I also apologize to the people of New York State, who have a right to better conduct from their Governor. This will not happen again.'” 

Texts also revealed Cuomo used his connections to find out about accusers. 

Newly-released texts from CNN host Chris Cuomo (right) reveal he helped strategize brother Andrew Cuomo’s (left) response to the sexual harassment scandal earlier this year 

The text exchanges contradict Cuomo’s claims that he did not closely advise the disgraced former governor about a dozen sexual harassment allegations leveled against him.

Pages of texts show Cuomo strategizing the former governor’s response to the allegations with DeRosa. 

The pair in February discussed crafting Andrew’s statement and on March 3, Cuomo texted DeRosa to say: ‘Please let me help with the prep.’

The following day, Cuomo told DeRosa he had a ‘lead on the wedding girl,’ presumably a reference to Anne Ruch, who told The New York Times the governor became ‘aggressive toward her during a September 2019 wedding. 

She said he cupped her face in his hands and asked: ‘Can I kiss you?’

Anna Ruch, now 33, met Andrew Cuomo at her friends’ wedding in September 2019. He was photographed cupping her face

The texts also revealed that Cuomo used his ‘sources’ to investigate other accusers as they prepared to come forward in March. 

Last week, Andrew Cuomo was condemned as a sex pest who committed multiple impeachable offenses in a new official report.

The investigation, by New York’s state assembly’s judiciary committee, was released November 22 and found ‘overwhelming evidence’ that Cuomo sexually harassed 12 women.

Pages of text exchanges between Chris Cuomo and Andrew Cuomo's top aid Melissa DeRosa were released by the New York Attorney General's office Monday

Pages of text exchanges between Chris Cuomo and Andrew Cuomo’s top aid Melissa DeRosa were released by the New York Attorney General’s office Monday

The 12th victim, mom-of-three Sherry Vill, previously came forward to detail Cuomo’s alleged manhandling and forcible kissing while touring her flood-damaged home in 2017. She was not included in New York Attorney General Letitia James’s August report, but the judiciary committee said it had since corroborated her claims.

Cuomo was accused early this year of advising his brother to resign despite being banned from family strategizing by his bosses at CNN.

The New York Times and CNN’s Brian Stelter previously reported that Cuomo was in ‘regular’ contact with Andrew, and had ‘advised him to resign.’

Melissa DeRosa, former secretary to the governor, exchanged dozens of messages with Chris Cuomo as her boss's sexual harassment scandal was unfolding

Melissa DeRosa, former secretary to the governor, exchanged dozens of messages with Chris Cuomo as her boss’s sexual harassment scandal was unfolding

CNN previously banned Cuomo from helping his brother plot how to respond to allegations he sexually harassed 11 women, and it is unclear if him telling Andrew to resign could be considered a breach of that prohibition.

The network star broke his silence August 16, telling CNN viewers that he was not an adviser to his sibling but rather ‘a brother.’  

The CNN anchor, returning to the air after a weeklong vacation, said he told his brother he needed to step down, after 11 women accused him of sexual harassment.

Chris Cuomo told his viewers in August that 'he tried to do the right thing' after his brother resigned but said he did not advise him on media strategy

Chris Cuomo told his viewers in August that ‘he tried to do the right thing’ after his brother resigned but said he did not advise him on media strategy

‘I tried to do the right thing and I just want you all to know that,’ he said.

He said he did not, this time, advise his brother on media strategy.

‘I wasn’t in control of anything,’ Cuomo said on the air.

‘I was there to listen and offer my take. And my advice to my brother was simple and consistent – own what you did, tell people what you’ll try to do to be better, be contrite. 

‘Finally, accept that it doesn’t matter what you intended, what matters is how your actions and your words are perceived.’

While he never imagined he would have to do it, ‘I did advise my brother to resign when the time came,’ he said.

That advice apparently came after the attorney general’s report.

The Post said in May that when the charges first came up, Chris Cuomo urged his brother to take a defiant position and not resign. 

Cuomo said he never reported on his brother’s situation for CNN and never attempted to influence coverage of the situation by others at the network.

In one text message, Cuomo said ‘his friend’ asked actor Alec Baldwin to post commentary online, referencing Baldwin’s 14-minute Instagram rant earlier this year where he hit out and defended due process amid sexual misconduct allegations leveled at Andrew Cuomo and Woody Allen.

‘My friend asked him to do it,’ Chris said in a message to Andrew Cuomo’s former top aide Melissa DeRosa. ‘Very close to him.’ 

During subpoenaed testimony with investigators July 15, Cuomo said he asked his friend to tell Baldwin to stay out of the scandal.

‘I said, Tell him to stay out of it,’ Chris Cuomo told investigators. ‘It’s not necessary. He said, “Well, he’s going to do it. And I think it’s a good idea for him to do it. He wants to talk about these things.”‘ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk