“I have a lead on the wedding girl,” CNN host Chris Cuomo texted a top official in his brother’s administration on March 4.
Four months later, Chris Cuomo told investigators probing Andrew Cuomo, who was New York’s governor at the time, that he tapped sources he developed in his media job after his brother was accused by a dozen women of sexual misconduct, including some sexual harassment and assault allegations.
Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett came forward in the winter to say Andrew Cuomo harassed them.
“Did you reach out to anyone to try to find out if there might be any other complainants?” Chris Cuomo was asked during a July 15 deposition.
“Yes,” he said.
“Who did you reach out to?” an interviewer wondered.
“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 replied.
Melissa DeRosa, Andrew Cuomo’s top aide, asked, he added.
“I remember Melissa asking me at some point that either they wanted to know if I knew or could find out if more were coming or that she had heard that one or maybe two more were coming and could I find out,” Chris Cuomo said.
Text messages show the CNN host texting DeRosa in March that he had gotten a lead on “the wedding girl,” a reference to Anna Ruch, who said Andrew Cuomo harassed her at a wedding.
Asked where he got that lead, Chris Cuomo told investigators “a source” provided him with it.
Cuomo identified the male source by name but the name was redacted.
Another text showed DeRosa informing Chris Cuomo that a rumor was circulating about more women coming forward the following day.
“Can u check your sources?” she asked.
“On it,” Cuomo responded less than four minutes later.
“No one has heard that yet,” he added after another approximately 39 minutes elapsed.
In another set of messages, DeRosa conveyed another rumor, about reporter Ronan Farrow getting ready to publish a story about more allegations. She asked again for him to check with his sources.
The deposition transcript and messages were released on Monday by New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat who ordered the probe into the veracity of the allegations against Andrew Cuomo.
James recently launched a gubernatorial campaign to beat Gov. Kathy Hochul, who replaced Andrew Cuomo.
Investigators had already said that Chris Cuomo was part of a circle of government and outside advisers who counseled Andrew Cuomo during the tumult. The newly released materials show he pleaded to help his brother’s team prepare responses to the allegations and even drafted a five paragraph statement he wanted released under his brother’s name.
Chris Cuomo has defended his actions and has not been punished by CNN.
Rebecca Aguilar, the president of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), said Cuomo’s actions were not ethical.
“It is unethical for a journalist to use their position, contacts, and influence to help a family member or friend involved in an investigation by law enforcement,” she told The Epoch Times in an email, pointing to the SPJ’s Code of Ethics, which tells those in media to “avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived, minimize harm, and be accountable and transparent.”
“CNN anchor Chris Cuomo should have recused himself on any stories involving his brother Andrew Cuomo when he was Governor of New York, especially during the investigation into sexual harassment allegations,” Aguilar added. “Chris Cuomo’s most significant responsibility was to be honest and upfront with his viewers who trusted him and CNN.”
Chris Cuomo and CNN did not respond to requests for comment.
Boylan said on Twitter the material showed that “a whole system is set up to protect powerful men from accountability.”
James also released transcripts and exhibits from others who were reviewed as part of the probe, including top Andrew Cuomo adviser Rich Azzopardi and Democrat strategist Lis Smith.