Chris Cuomo collected information on brother’s accusers, new records show
Chris Cuomo was actively in touch with a top aide to his brother Andrew Cuomo about incoming reports that detailed alleged sexual harassment by the then-New York governor, new records have shown.
The TV journalist 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, according to the materials made public Monday.
He also sparred with the former governor’s aides over strategy, urging an apologetic tone and critiquing an early statement that he saw as downplaying the allegations. He accused a top aide of hiding information from his brother.
Chris Cuomo told investigators he spoke regularly with his brother, coaching him on his response and admonishing him for “bad judgment.” Chris Cuomo previously acknowledged it was a “mistake” to act as his brother’s unofficial adviser, but the full extent of his involvement only became clear with Monday’s release of his July interview with investigators and 169 pages of text messages, emails and other communications.
“Please let me help prep,” Chris Cuomo said in a message to Melissa DeRosa, then-secretary to the governor, in early March. In the wake of a New York Times report detailing an alleged kiss by the governor, he text DeRosa: “I have a lead on the wedding girl.”
“I would – when asked, I would reach out to sources, other journalists, to see if they had heard of anybody else coming out,” Chris Cuomo told investigators.
“I was worried that this wasn’t being handled the right way, and it’s not my job to handle it, okay?” Chris Cuomo told investigators, according to the transcript. “I don’t work for the governor.”
CNN issued a statement saying the transcripts and exhibits “deserve a thorough review and consideration,” adding, “We will be having conversations and seeking additional clarity about their significance as they relate to CNN over the next several days.”
Jane Kirtley, director of the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota, said journalists must understand they’re working for the public, not politicians. Kirtley said the extent of Chris Cuomo’s involvement in advising his brother is inappropriate, and since they’re brothers, “Maybe it’s time for him to find another line of work.”