NEW YORK (AP) – CNN presenter Chris Cuomo has played a bigger role than previously thought in advising his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in the face of allegations of sexual harassment that l ‘forced out of office, according to new transcripts and text messages released. .
The television reporter offered to contact “sources”, including other reporters, to find out if more women would come forward and relayed what he was hearing to his brother’s advisers, according to documents released on Monday.
He also fought with the former governor’s advisers on strategy, urging a tone of apology and criticizing an early statement he saw as downplaying the allegations. He also accused a senior employee of withholding information from his brother.
At the same time, Chris Cuomo told investigators he spoke regularly with his brother, advising him on his response and berating him for “poor judgment.”
Chris Cuomo has previously acknowledged that it was a “mistake” to act as his brother’s unofficial adviser, but the extent of his involvement – including the use of journalistic contacts to identify the accusers – is uncertain. became clear only with the publication on Monday of his July interview with investigators and 169 pages. text messages, emails and other communications.
“I was worried it 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. I am not defending him in this matter. I don’t cover it. You know, that’s – that’s not what I do.
“You have to speak the truth and stand before these, if you have anything to say. And if you’ve got something to own, you have to, too, ”said Chris Cuomo.
Andrew Cuomo resigned in August to avoid a likely impeachment trial, after an investigation by state attorney general Letitia James found he had sexually harassed at least 11 women.
Chris Cuomo, host of CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time,” said he never reported on his brother’s situation for the network and never tried to influence coverage. On the air in August, he said: “I tried to do the right thing”, adding that he “was not in control”.
A message requesting comment has been left for CNN.
Jane Kirtley, director of the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota, said journalists need to understand that they are working for the public, not for politicians.
Kirtley said the extent of Chris Cuomo’s involvement in counseling his brother is inappropriate, and since they are brothers, “Maybe it’s time for him to find another job.”
She urged CNN to deal with the matter quickly, saying, “You can’t act like this isn’t happening. You are a press organization.
Releases on Monday show Chris Cuomo growing frustrated with his brother’s advisers as they scramble to respond as more women come forward with allegations of harassment.
The presenter asked for more involvement in shaping his brother’s message and offered his journalistic investigation to find out what other allegations might loom.
On March 7, as rumors circulated that more women were about to come forward, DeRosa texted Chris Cuomo, “Can you check your sources.” He replied, “On that. “
“When asked, I contacted sources, other reporters, to see if they had heard of anyone else,” Chris Cuomo said in the July deposition.
In one case, Chris Cuomo said he called a reporter who worked regularly with reporter Ronan Farrow to get information about Farrow’s upcoming story and didn’t tell anyone on CNN what he was doing. .
In a March 10 text message, Chris Cuomo lashed out at DeRosa, accusing him of withholding information from his brother after the Albany Times-Union published an interview with an accuser.
“Stop hiding the c —” wrote Chris Cuomo. “We make mistakes that we cannot afford. “
Asked in his testimony about this text, Chris Cuomo explained that he told him: “Don’t say things to Andrew.”
“There were conversations that he wasn’t a part of and I thought it was important for him to stay very locked up on that,” said Chris Cuomo.
Among this latest batch of investigative documents released by James’ office is a video of Andrew Cuomo’s July deposition – a transcript was released about three weeks ago – and transcripts or videos of interviews with several Cuomo assistants and advisers.
James’ office said it initially did not disclose them because local prosecutors were examining them for potential criminal conduct. After a criminal complaint was filed against Cuomo last month, giving him access to the documents by discovery, James’ office said it would release them to the public “in an effort to ensure full transparency.”
The publications were made as they went – first with the transcripts of the former governor and the accusers on November 10 and Monday with his brother, his collaborators and other personalities – to allow time for the editorial staff to protect the privacy of individuals, James’s office said.
DeRosa, in his interview released Monday, recalled confronting Andrew Cuomo on a drive over the allegations. She told investigators that after an accuser came forward, they decided Cuomo would no longer be left alone with junior staff.
When asked about her dealings with Chris Cuomo, DeRosa testified, “I’ve spoken to Chris quite regularly. He participated in some of the calls that we made and he advised us on how to respond.
Villeneuve reported from Albany. Associated Press reporters Jennifer Peltz, David Bauder and Thalia Beaty in New York and Michael Hill in Albany contributed to this report.
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