Media

Harassment report shows CNN's Cuomo played ongoing role in advising brother following allegations

The bombshell New York state attorney general report into the sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) revealed new details on the level of involvement his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, had in providing advice on how to respond to the accusations. 

The report in part showed that according to email communications obtained by state Attorney General Letitia James's (D) office, Chris Cuomo sent an email in which he proposed lines that were eventually included in a late February statement issued by Andrew Cuomo in response to the allegations. 

"Questions have been raised about some of my personal interactions with people in my office," Chris Cuomo apparently wrote in the email. "I spend most of my life at work and colleagues are often also personal friends. I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm."

A Feb. 27 message chain also revealed that political consultant Lis Smith wrote, "I don't love that part but Chris/Andrew wanted in" and "Chris wants to make sure we have enough contrition in here."

Chris Cuomo was also copied in a series of other emails advising how to respond to the specific allegations from former aide Charlotte Bennett, with the report saying that the television personality and other advisers "counseled" the governor "to express contrition after the press published Ms. Bennett's allegations."

The report also said that Andrew Cuomo and his staff "actively consulted" Chris Cuomo, as well as a series of other people close to the governor. 

The report noted that Chris Cuomo was also among the 179 people interviewed by investigators from James's office as part of their probe into the sexual harassment allegations from 11 women. 

The Hill has reached out to CNN for comment. 

The new details come after Chris Cuomo previously apologized in May for advising his brother on how to answer questions regarding the accusations following reports that he had participated in several conference calls on crafting responses. 

The reports led many to raise questions on Chris Cuomo's credibility, and attracted criticism toward CNN, which repeatedly aired live interviews during Chris Cuomo's show amid the pandemic. 

CNN President Jeff Zucker said at the time that Chris Cuomo "made a mistake" by advising his brother, but that he did not believe it would be productive to suspend the TV host, arguing that doing so would be "punishment for the sake of punishing."

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