Andrew Cuomo Accuser Blasts CNN Host as Part of 'System' Shielding Powerful Men From Accountability
10:16 GMT 30.11.2021 (Updated: 11:08 GMT 30.11.2021)
Documents released on Monday by the Attorney General of New York Letitia James show that CNN host Chris Cuomo exchanged dozens of text messages with former New York governor Andrew Cuomo's top aide, Melissa DeRosa, about how to deflect accusations of sexual misconduct targeting his brother.
After the NY Attorney General's Office on Monday released interviews, emails, and text messages related to the investigation into sexual misconduct allegations made against former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Lindsey Boylan
shared her disgust over the revelations on Twitter.
The first of a dozen woman to publicly accuse the former governor of sexual harassment
slammed the fact that Cuomo’s CNN anchor brother Chris was revealed to have been involved in a PR plan to discredit the accusers.
She tweeted that the system is “set up to protect powerful men from accountability.”
She queried how abuse allegations
could be dismissed until “a group of women cry on camera” to further their case.
Boylan, an ex-adviser to Cuomo, came forward publicly last December on Twitter to accuse the governor of sexually harassing her – and even at one point asking her to play a game of strip poker with him.
On Monday, the office of the New York Attorney General – Letitia James – released over 10,000 pages of interviews, emails, and text messages pertaining to the investigation of former Gov. Cuomo. The probe had culminated in an August report that revealed Cuomo harassed at least 11 women and eventually prompted his scandalous resignation under threat of impeachment from the state Legislature.
The newly-released transcripts
revealed that Chris Cuomo, a CNN anchor, exchanged dozens of text messages with his brother's top aide Melissa DeRosa as they scrambled to put together a public relations strategy to “smear” the women who accused him.
This appears to have included drafting statements for his brother to deny the allegations, while also editing statements put together by his senior aides.
Chris Cuomo had previously told investigators under oath that he engaged in “irregular contact” with the aide.
“As the situation started to accelerate, my brother asked me to be in the loop,” Chris Cuomo stated, according to the newly-revealed documents.
During an interview with investigators on 15 July, Chris Cuomo said of his brother:
“The general was — I need your help. I’m sorry that you’re getting pulled into this kind of thing. And if you can be available, please be available.”
The CNN host told investigators that he would reach “sources — other journalists — to see if they had heard of anybody” who was intending to lob accusations at the then-governor.
reveal that on 4 March that Chris Cuomo texted DeRosa about having a “lead on the wedding girl," in a perceived reference to Anna Ruch, who accused Andrew Cuomo of grabbing her face and making her feel uncomfortable at a wedding they attended.
Chris Cuomo also sent an email forwarding documents containing information about Charlotte Bennett, another of the ex-governor’s first public accusers, including tweets, dating to her time in college. This was revealed as investigators questioned Lis Smith, a Democratic strategist employed by Andrew Cuomo’s 2018 campaign.
‘Inappropriate’ Strategy Sessions
The story of Chris Cuomo’s participation in so-called strategy sessions with his brother’s team was first broken by The Washington Post in May. At the time, CNN described his behavior as “inappropriate” but the anchor dodged any disciplinary action.
“I wasn’t in control of anything… I was there to listen and offer my take. And my advice to my brother was simple and consistent — own what you did, tell people what you’ll try to do to be better, be contrite,” Chris Cuomo told viewers.
He also apologised to his viewers earlier for becoming involved in his brother’s sex scandal
and being “looped into calls with other friends of his and advisers,” while insisting he was “family first, job second.”
The “Cuomo Prime Time" host himself was accused of sexual harassment by veteran TV news producer Shelley Ross earlier this year. Ross alleged
in an op-ed piece for The New York Times that he grabbed her buttock at a 2005 function when the two of them worked at ABC News.
The woman described what she perceived as a “hostile act meant to diminish and belittle his female former boss in front of the staff.” Cuomo later said in a statement provided to the Times:
“As Shelley acknowledges, our interaction was not sexual in nature. It happened 16 years ago in a public setting when she was a top executive at ABC. I apologized to her then, and I meant it.”
In response to the newly-emerged documents, CNN said in a statement cited by The Washington Post that the company “will be having conversations and seeking additional clarity about their significance as they relate to CNN over the next several days.”