CNN says star host Chris Cuomo’s fate will be decided in the ‘next several days’ after damning texts showed how he helped pen his brother Andrew’s sex pest rebuttals and used sources to dig up dirt on accusers in a move that drew the ire of the former governor’s first accuser.
Bombshell documents released Monday by the New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office show that he exchanged dozens of text messages with Andrew Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, despite him telling investigators under oath that they had ‘irregular contact’.
In a statement to DailyMail.com this evening, CNN said: ‘The thousands of pages of additional transcripts and exhibits that were released today by the NY Attorney General 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.’
Lindsey Boylan, who was the first woman to publicly accuse the former governor of sexual harassment, shared a scathing take on the documents Monday.
‘It’s almost as if a whole system is set up to protect powerful men from accountability,’ she tweeted.
Text messages released by 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.’ In one text, on March 3, he also asked DeRosa to ‘please let me help with prep’.
He also crafted at least two statements for his brother, one regarding accuser Charlotte Bennett’s claims, and another on Andrew’s refusal to resign. Lines from the latter statement he provided by text were used by his brother.
Texts also revealed Cuomo used his connections to find out about accusers, telling DeRosa he had ‘a lead on the wedding girl,’ in reference to Anne Ruch, who told The New York Times the governor became ‘aggressive’ toward her during a September 2019 wedding.
Other texts show that he asked another journalist for information on a story being written by Ronan Farrow for the New Yorker, which centered around accuser Lindsey Boylan – a former aide who claimed the governor had sexually harassed her for years and whose story prompted other woman to come forward.
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
Texts also revealed Cuomo used his connections to find out about accusers, telling DeRosa he ‘a lead on the wedding girl,’ in reference to Anne Ruch (left), who told The New York Times the governor became ‘aggressive toward her during a September 2019 wedding
Melissa DeRosa, former secretary to the governor, exchanged dozens of messages with Chris Cuomo as her boss’s sexual harassment scandal was unfolding
She said he cupped her face in his hands and asked: ‘Can I kiss you?’
Cuomo later told investigators that he reached out to a ‘non-journalistic’ source while fishing for information on the wedding incident.
He also told investigators that as the scandal exploded, he reached out other journalists to learn whether other complainants might come forward.
The text exchange at one point turned to Farrow, who won the Pulitzer Prize and helped launch the #MeToo movement after his reporting on disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
Texts show Andrew Cuomo’s team was worried about an article journalist Ronan Farrow (pictured) was working on, and asked his brother to look into it
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. Investigators asked Cuomo during the investigation about a March 2021 text where he wrote to DeRosa: ‘If Ronan has nothing better – better than Boylan, that’s a great sign’
Investigators asked Cuomo during the investigation about a March 2021 text where he wrote to DeRosa: ‘If Ronan has nothing better – better than Boylan, that’s a great sign’.
He later elaborated to investigators that ‘the concern was that Ronan always has more people. You know, I mean, that’s part of his currency as a journalist, is that people come to him to expand understandings. I know he has his critics. But, to me, that’s when he’s at his best.
‘So the assumption was he must have new people if he’s waiting so long to have written about this. And then he didn’t. So, what the context is specifically is: I had heard that all he was writing – the only person he was writing about was Lindsey Boylan.’
Cuomo told investigators that his brother’s team was ‘very concerned’ with the impending story and that the piece was discussed after it was published on March 18.
‘When Ronan Farrow writes, something, people in the media are going to talk about it,’ he said.
He said he discussed the article with his brother after it was published March 18.
‘[The conversation was] just asking him, you know, how how he felt about it, what was in it,’ Cuomo told investigators. ‘And him asking me what did I think the impact of it was.
‘He said that he didn’t think the article was fair, that she was being propped up and -you know, that’s it.’
In another exchange, DeRosa asked Cuomo about a ‘rumor going around from politico 1-2 more ppl coming out tomorrow’. She also asked him to check his sources, to which he responded, ‘no one has heard yet’.
Anna Ruch, now 33, met Andrew Cuomo at her friends’ wedding in September 2019. He was photographed cupping her face
Though he admitted to researching forthcoming accusers, he vehemently denied to investigators setting out to discredit them.
‘I would never do oppo research on anybody alleging anything like this,’ he told investigators. ‘I’m not in the oppo research business. I don’t tolerate a lot of oppo research on any level.’
When asked to define ‘oppo research’, he said: ‘the idea of trying to find ways to disparage people who come forward with allegations like this is not what I’m about.’
The text exchanges contradict Cuomo’s claims to investigators that he had ‘irregular contact’ with DeRosa. His testimony was subject to the penalty of perjury.
He on March 12 sent her a text, dictating how the governor should respond to calls for his resignation.
‘READ THIS,’ Cuomo said. ‘I will not resign. I cannot resign. I am in a different position and I am working with a different standard than these other politicians I understand why they have to say what they are saying.
‘I understand the political pressure I understand the stakes of political warfare, and that’s what this is… And I understand the conformity that can be forced by cancel culture.’
Discussions centered around Andrew Cuomo stepping down prompted the governor to consider doing so in March, Cuomo said.
‘I told him, ‘If you have done nothing that you believe was wrong, don’t resign,’ Cuomo told investigators. ‘Because resigning is you saying that you did something wrong. Don’t do it.’
Pages of texts show Cuomo strategizing the former governor’s response to the allegations with DeRosa. In one exchange he questions why one of his statements on Charlotte Bennett’s claims were not used, asking DeRosa: ‘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.”
Cuomo also sent DeRosa a later statement which his brother used lines from in responding to the allegations against him.
Pages of texts messages released by AG Letitia James shows how Chris Cuomo strategised with his brother Andrew’s office, specifically with top aide Melissa DeRosa
DeRosa said during her deposition that she talked to Cuomo ‘pretty regularly’ during the scandal and the kept firing over advice that nobody asked for.
‘Chris sends me a lot of things a lot of the time,’ she told investigators. ‘Half of it I don’t engage in. He gives unsolicited 22 advice.’
Cuomo told investigators that he urged his brother to be truthful ahead of a March 3 press conference.
‘Every time somebody has to ask you a question about something specific, it’s an opportunity you had to get out in front of this that wasn’t taken,’ Cuomo said. ‘And that this is not a competition. This is not you versus the accuser. And you don’t phrase it that way, and you avoid any implication of that.
‘That was my biggest set of concerns for him in terms of how this was handled. Everything else to me was just verbiage.’
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.
In August Cuomo used his CNN show to defend his behavior during the sex harassment scandal engulfing his brother – telling viewers that he was not an adviser to Governor Andrew Cuomo, but rather: ‘I’m a brother.’
‘I tried to do the right thing and I just want you all to know that,’ he said.
Both CNN and its star journalist have faced criticism for his interactions with his older brother.
Once Andrew was accused of sexual harassment, Chris began assisting him with media strategy – to the anger of CNN colleagues, including Jake Tapper, who said it put them in a difficult situation.
In May, when news of his assistance emerged, Chris apologized to viewers and colleagues.
And when the New York attorney general’s report was published on August 3 – prompting his brother to resign – Cuomo pointedly refused to discuss it, even while it was the lead item on his colleagues’ shows.
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.
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.
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.
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 report released by the Attorney General’s office on Monday also revealed that 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,’ Cuomo 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,’ 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.”
Cuomo said toward the end of the deposition that his brother feels guilty for dragging him into the mess.
‘My brother has a lot of regret that I’ve had this negatively affect me,’ he said. ‘Doesn’t feel good to have your family be scrutinized for something that’s about you, let alone when that scrutiny is patently unfair and being weaponized in ways to hurt you as the primary, you know, which is what Andrew is, and to hurt me. And I know he feels that. And it hurts him.’
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