Chris Cuomo’s behind-the-scenes role as unofficial advisor to his older brother, forced to resign in August 2021 after an avalanche of allegations he has always denied, had already been exposed. But documents posted on Attorney General’s Office Letitia James website reveal help in the public relations arena on a larger scale than was known.
Summoned to testify before New York investigators, Chris Cuomo, a law graduate, admitted that at the time when the accusers began in the public square, in February and March 2021, to blame the ex-governor from New York’s inappropriate behavior, he was in regular contact with his brother.
The host of Cuomo Prime Time, whose transcript of testimony spans 348 pages, also admitted exchanging messages with key advisers in the office of the almost 64-year-old former Democratic governor.
The exhibits on file, which include multiple emails and text messages, but several passages of which are redacted, show in particular that he was in close contact with Andrew Cuomo’s main collaborator, Melissa DeRosa.
The 51-year-old host also lobbied to help his brother’s office deal with the barrage of accusations as he challenged the strategy being used to deal with them.
You must trust me […] more than these other people, he wrote for example in a text message dated March 10.
We make mistakes that we cannot afford.
He went so far as to dictate press releases in which he suggested detailed responses to be given to the allegations.
Journalistic contacts made use of
According to his testimony, but also according to the texts, Chris Cuomo also used his journalistic sources to obtain information on the accusers.
Three days after an article from New York Times who reported a third alleged victim who claimed that Andrew Cuomo had wanted to kiss her in September 2019 during a wedding ceremony, he wrote for example, on March 4:
I have some info on the wedding girl.
However, he denied having wanted to cover his brother.
« I was worried that it was not being handled the right way, and this [n’était] not my job to handle it, okay? »
I don’t work for the governor. I am not defending him in this matter. I don’t cover it. You know, […] that’s not what i do, he told investigators.
the Washington Post revealed in May 2021 the advising role played by the youngest of the Cuomo siblings and reported on his participation in conference calls devoted to the strategy surrounding the management of the crisis. Chris Cuomo had notably encouraged his brother to stay in office.
CNN had judged
inappropriate that its facilitator has participated in such exchanges. He himself had later admitted that he had committed one
Obviously, I am aware of what is going on with my brother. And obviously I can’t cover him because he’s my brother, he said on air at the beginning of March, adding that the network would obviously not do without.
I am not an advisor. I am a brother. I didn’t control anything at all. I was there to listen and give my opinion, he argued five months later, after a report from Letitia James, which spoke of his involvement.
During the pandemic, Andrew Cuomo was a regular guest on his brother’s show, a situation that thrilled viewers but drew criticism, even internally.
According to figures provided by CNN, Cuomo Prime Time recorded the channel’s highest audience in the third quarter.
A fallen model
Attorney General Letitia James also posted online transcripts or videos of interviews with several former Andrew Cuomo associates on Monday, who described their efforts to challenge the allegations.
Falling out of favor after emerging as a national political star during the pandemic, Andrew Cuomo, who was aiming for a fourth term, ultimately resolved to throw in the towel, avoiding an impeachment trial.
The resignation of the politician, son of former New York governor Mario Cuomo, came eight months after the first allegation and a week after the damning report from the attorney general of New York, published in early August.
In her 165-page report, the latter documented the case of 11 women who claimed to have been the targets of inappropriate gestures or remarks by Andrew Cuomo.
This one was indicted last month for sexual offense. The complaint accuses him of
forced touching which would have occurred in December 2020 in what was then his official residence in Albany, the capital of the state of New York.