CNN host Chris Cuomo offered to help his brother, Andrew Cuomo, then the governor of New York, find out how many women would be accusing him of sexual harassment, new transcripts revealed Monday.
New transcripts from the inquiry, made public Monday by New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose office investigated Andrew Cuomo, offered additional details about how Chris Cuomo was involved with helping his brother deal with the situation and the ensuing political struggles.
Andrew Cuomo has denied wrongdoing.
Investigator Jennifer Kennedy Park asked Cuomo whether he offered to help his brother “find out if there might be any other complainants.”
“I would — when asked, I would reach out to sources, other journalists, to see if they had heard of anybody else coming out,” Chris Cuomo said, according to the documents.
Cuomo, the host of CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time,” however, said he ultimately never did such research for the governor.
A representative for CNN could not be immediately reached for comment Monday. In a statement to CNBC, a spokesman said CNN would review the new documents.
“The thousands of pages of additional transcripts and exhibits that were released today by the NY Attorney General deserve a thorough review and consideration,” said the spokesman, Matt Dornic. “We will be having conversations and seeking additional clarity about their significance as they relate to CNN over the next several days.”
Cuomo admitted that he did help his brother’s team flesh out allegations made by Anna Ruch, who objected to the governor’s kissing her at a wedding.
Transcripts of Chris Cuomo’s interview with investigators showed that he sent a text message to the governor’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, reading, “I have a lead on the wedding girl.”
Cuomo said he was helping his brother’s team understand that Ruch had complained about the kiss contemporaneously, implying that the complaint should be taken seriously.
“I then had a phone call with Melissa and/or Josh and was told that this was the wedding of one of their people and that this complaint had happened right then, had been heard from her, and it’s been always there, didn’t just come up,” he said.
Cuomo said helping his brother was a family matter and that it was appropriate because he was not directly reporting on Albany at the time.
“Because what I’m worried about is my brother and what this means for my family. And I’m not covering it. You know what I mean?” he told investigators.
“You know, the idea that I could ever report on my brother has always been an absurdity to me. That’s never been my intention. That’s never been my practice,” he said. “And so, look, this was just — you know, just wanted to be able to help my brother. That’s it.”
Cuomo said that advice he gave his brother was based on telling the truth.
“I am worried about my brother and worried that this is being handled the best way it can,” he said of their discussions as the scandal unfolded. “And my feeling was that, to my basic mantra, you need to tell the truth and get in front of these if you have something to say. And if you have something to own, you need to do that as well.”
Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation as governor on Aug. 10, saying, “I never would intentionally disrespect a woman, treat any woman differently than I would want them treated, and that is the God’s honest truth.”