New York, NY – CNN suspended “Cuomo Prime Time” host Chris Cuomo on Tuesday after documents showed he was intimately involved in advising his brother, now-former Governor Andrew Cuomo, when his sexual harassment scandal erupted.
The New York Attorney General’s Office released documents on Monday that showed Chris Cuomo took a key role and participated in opposition research against his elder brother’s accusers, according to CNBC.
Exhibits from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ Aug. 3 165-page, bombshell report that determined then-Gov. Cuomo had “sexually harassed multiple women, and in doing so violated federal and state law” showed that Chris Cuomo was far more involved in advising him than what the news anchor represented to the public.
Those exhibits included messages from Chris Cuomo to the governor’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, about media reports that contained allegations against his brother, CNBC reported.
He even dictated some of the statements that then-Gov. Cuomo made to the media as the scandal around him unfolded.
“Please let me help with the prep,” Chris Cuomo wrote to DeRosa in a message in early March.
Three days after The New York Times reported Gov. Cuomo had tried to kiss a woman in an unwanted advance at a wedding, the little brother jumped into the fray yet again, CNBC reported.
“I have a lead on the wedding girl,” the CNN host wrote to DeRosa.
CNN initially said that it was reviewing “thousands of pages of additional transcripts and exhibits” in connection with the allegations of Chris Cuomo’s involved in his brother’s sexual harassment scandal that led to his eventual resignation from office, CNBC reported.
“We will be having conversations and seeking additional clarity about their significance as they relate to CNN over the next several days,” CNN spokesman Matt Dornic said.
At the time the Andrew Cuomo scandal exploded in the media, Chris Cuomo denied being an “official advisor” to his brother, CNBC reported.
He did, however, admit to having counseled then-Gov. Cuomo and claimed he had been one of the people who advised him to resign.
Newly-released exhibits showed Chris Cuomo told investigators that he talked to “sources” about the allegations against his older brother, CNBC reported.
He also said he reached out to sources about yet-to-be-published stories from other media outlets about his brother’s alleged transgressions.
“I would – when asked, I would reach out to sources, other journalists, to see if they had heard of anybody else coming out,” the CNN host told investigators, according to CNBC.
He provided investigators with the name of the source who gave him the name of the “wedding girl,” Anna Ruch.
Chris Cuomo claimed someone who knew the bride’s family had called and said that a friend had heard “maybe she had been put up to it,” CNBC reported.
It remained unclear if Cuomo was referring to Ruch and no further details were available.
The 51-year-old CNN anchor also helped DeRosa write media statements for his 64-year-old brother, CNBC reported.
In fact, he sent a full statement to DeRosa via text message on March 12.
“I will not resign, I cannot resign,” Chris Cuomo texted. “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.”
A March 9 text showed he was helping edit his brother’s statements and recommended the governor remove the last line of one that ended with “The governor’s previous statement that he has never touched anyone inappropriately stands.”
He also reached out to check on rumors of more allegations against then-Gov. Cuomo, CNBC reported.
“Rumor going around from politico 1-2 more ppl coming out tomorrow. Can u check your sources?” DeRosa texted Chris Cuomo.
“On it,” he replied.
Then later he texted her that “No one has heard that yet,” CNBC reported.
Exhibits released also showed that DeRosa asked Chris Cuomo to ask his sources about an upcoming investigative story in the New Yorker by Ronan Farrow, CNBC reported.
Although he didn’t reply to that request, Chris Cuomo texted DeRosa four days after the story published and wrote “If If ronan has nothing better than boylan thats a great sign.”
Boylan had accused the governor of having, among other things, propositioned her to play strip poker while they were on a private plane, CNBC reported.
“Did u get any more intel?” DeRosa asked the next day.
“Story not ready for tomorrow,” Chris Cuomo replied, according to CNBC.
CNN released a statement on Tuesday night that announced the prime time host had been suspended “indefinitely.”
“The New York Attorney General’s office released transcripts and exhibits Monday that shed new light on Chris Cuomo’s involvement in his brother’s defense,” the statement read. “The documents, which we were not privy to before their public release, raise serious questions.”
“When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother’s staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly,” CNN continued. “But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second.”
“However, these documents point to a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew,” the spokesperson added. “As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation.”
Despite the suspension from CNN, Chris Cuomo appeared on his Sirius XM radio show on Wednesday and said “it hurts” to be in trouble with his network, the New York Post reported.
“You know this already. It hurts to even say it. It’s embarrassing, but I understand it. And I understand why some people feel the way they do about what I did,” he told his audience.
“I’ve apologized in the past,” the CNN host continued. “I mean it, the last thing I ever wanted to do was compromise any of my colleagues and do anything but help.”