In a damning report (with multiple appendixes) put out by the New York Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday detailing the sexual harassment and sexual assault from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) against multiple women, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo was implicated as one of many advisors tapped to help Andrew respond to the allegations back in February; with verbatim lines making it from an e-mail to an official statement.
As outlined by the report, “internal documents and communications obtained during the investigation, it appears that the Governor’s advisors, including Mr. Pollock [Andrew Cuomo’s lawyer] and Chris Cuomo, counseled him to express contrition after the press published Ms. Bennett’s allegations.”
We also learned from the report that Chris had been called in to testify to investigators, something he did not disclose on his show:
During his testimony, Chris Cuomo explained that there was discussion about remedial measures the Chamber should take in light of the sexual harassment allegations, but some people had taken the position that “they should just wait.” When asked about any remedial measures during his testimony, the Governor testified that the Chamber is “talking to people about” them.
Investigators also found that while Chris and other advisers had “no official role in the Executive Chamber,” “they were regularly provided with confidential and often privileged information about state operations and helped make decisions that impacted State business and employees—all without any formal role, duty, or obligation to the State.”
And the access to that confidential information helped Chris to craft his brother’s original defense. In Appendix II, Exhibit 70 was a February 28 e-mail from Chris to Andrew’s cadre of advisors that featured lines that would end up being used by Andrew.
Two particularly large sections from the e-mail appeared copy-and-pasted into the Governor’s official statement put out later that day with little change:
Questions have been raised about some of my past interactions with people in the office.
I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm. I spend most of my life at work and colleagues are often also personal friends.
Separately, my office has heard anecdotally that some people have reached out to Ms. Bennett to express displeasure about her coming forward. My message to anyone doing that is you have misjudged what matters to me and my administration and you should stop now – period.
We also know that Chris had told his brother to smear his accusers by suggesting they were part of “cancel culture.” It was advice Andrew would parrot during a televised address on the scandal.
When news first broke back on May 20 that Chris had been helping his brother, the normally raging CNN defended his actions and only apologized to CNN for embarrassing them:
I can be objective about just about any topic. But not about my family. Those of you who watch this show get it. Like you, I bet, my family means everything to me. And I am fiercely loyal to them. I am family first, job second.
This is CNN.