Documents show CNN’s Cuomo asking top aide: ‘Please let me help’ defend brother Andrew
CNN host Chris Cuomo asked a top aide to former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), his brother, to let him assist the team crafting the former governor’s response to allegations of inappropriate conduct made against him late last year.
“Please let me help with the prep,” Chris Cuomo wrote to Melissa DeRosa, a top adviser to the governor, in a text message on March 3.
In another message, DeRosa wrote to the CNN host about a “rumor going around from politico 1-2 more ppl coming out tomorrow,” in reference to more accusers coming forward against Andrew Cuomo, asking the prime-time anchor to check on them with his “sources.”
“No one has heard that yet,” Chris Cuomo responded.
Days later, he asked DeRosa to consider having the governor deliver another statement. It read, in part, “I understand why they have to say what they are saying. I understand the political pressure I understand the stakes of political warfare, and that’s what this is. … And I understand the conformity that can be forced by cancel culture.”
The text messages were made public Monday as part of a rolling release of transcripts and corresponding exhibits from the independent investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Andrew Cuomo by the state attorney general’s office.
In a text exchange between @ChrisCuomo and top Andrew Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa, the CNN host asks to “please let me help with the prep” of his older brother’s sexual harassment defense and helps devise a PR strategy. pic.twitter.com/XnQ3W2axWE
— Josefa Velásquez (@J__Velasquez) November 29, 2021
See exhibit pages 268-278 here for texts from Chris Cuomo to Melissa DeRosa and others. “Please let me help with the prep,” Chris Cuomo writes. Page 276 shows an entire statement Chris Cuomo writes for his brother, citing “cancel culture.” https://t.co/yEvReuhJsa https://t.co/ytzNtIswOA
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) November 29, 2021
The text messages also show Chris Cuomo sending DeRosa a written statement, lines from which were later used by the governor in responding to the claims against him.
In August, the CNN anchor said he advised his brother to resign and insisted he had no part in the network’s coverage of the scandal.
“I never misled anyone about the information I was delivering or not delivering on this program. I never attacked nor encouraged anyone to attack any woman who came forward. I never made calls to the press about my brother’s situation. I never influenced or attempted to control CNN’s coverage of my family,” he said at the time. “And as you know, back in May when I was told to no longer communicate with my brother’s aides in any group meetings, I acknowledged it was a mistake, I apologized to my colleagues, I stopped, and I meant it.”
When Chris Cuomo’s participation in crisis public relations sessions was first revealed, he apologized and called being a part of that team a mistake.
CNN President Jeff Zucker has also said the anchor “made a mistake” in advising his brother but did not punish him, saying such an action would be “punishment for the sake of punishing.”
Andrew Cuomo resigned from the governorship on Aug. 10. CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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