World

New details on Chris Cuomo’s role of mentor to brother Andrew

NEW YORK – The memo released Monday sheds light on the behind-the-scenes role of CNN host Chris Cuomo advising his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, to face charges sexual harassment forced him to leave office.

Chris Cuomo told investigators he talked to his brother regularly, exchanged messages with his top advisers, and received an email in February in March when they provided a response to the investigation. accusations from many women.

He also offers to help try and dig through his “sources” to see if more women will come forward, including possibly finding out their identities.

Previously, Chris Cuomo had known about his brother’s unofficial mentoring role. After some details of his work were highlighted in an August report by State Attorney General Letitia James, the journalist admitted it was a “mistake” to enter strategy calls with a group of his brother’s mentors.

But transcripts of Chris Cuomo’s July interview with investigators, as well as the release of 169 pages of emails, text messages and other communications provide more detail about his involvement. He helped shape his brother’s message – and acted as a cowboy with top strategic assistants.

“I was worried that this wasn’t handled properly, and it wasn’t my job to handle it, okay?” Chris Cuomo testified. “I don’t work for the governor. I am not defending him in this matter. I don’t cover it. You know, this is – this is not what I do. “

“I am worried for my brother and worried that this is being handled in the best possible way. And my feeling is, with my basic mantra, you need to tell the truth and stand by these things if you have something to say. And if you have something to own, you need to do it too,” he said.

Andrew Cuomo resigned in August to avoid a possible impeachment trial, after an independent investigation found he sexually harassed at least 11 women.

Chris Cuomo, the host of CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time,” defended himself by saying that he never reported Cuomo’s situation to CNN and never tried to influence its submission. believe.

“I tried to do the right thing,” the host aired in August, adding that he “has no control over anything.”

A notice to CNN representatives for comment was not immediately returned.

The transcript of Chris Cuomo’s interview is part of a new series of documents released Monday by the attorney general’s office, collected during a months-long investigation into the governor’s conduct with women.

A video copy of Governor Cuomo’s testimony has been released for the first time. Its transcripts were previously made public.

The attorney general also released transcripts or video of interviews with several of Cuomo’s key aides and advisers, who described their efforts to defend him against harassment allegations.

The governor’s former top aide, Melissa DeRosa, wiped away tears as she told investigators about the tense preservation she had in the car with Cuomo when she confronted him about her relationship him with a former aide, Charlotte Bennett, who says she feels like the governor. hit her. Bennett said he also annoyed her with unsolicited comments about her experience as a victim of sexual assault.

“I can’t believe you put yourself in a situation where you would have any version of this conversation,” DeRosa said, recalling what she told Cuomo.

DeRosa said the car stopped at a traffic light and she got out.

DeRosa said that following Bennett’s allegations, the governor’s office no longer left Cuomo alone with junior staff.

DeRosa testified that the change was similar to the “Graham-Pence rule,” referring to former Vice President Mike Pence’s practice of never eating alone with a woman other than his wife. That policy was inspired by the preaching of former Evangelist Billy Graham.

“She thinks it’s important to always have the two together, if it’s a junior employee, so that there can’t be any misperceptions or any possible conversation,” DeRosa said. , referring to former special counsel Judith Mogul. .

Villeneuve reports from Albany.

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