The first woman to accuse Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, setting in motion a chain of events that eventually led to his ouster, has expressed her disgust at news that his CNN anchor brother Chris was extensively involved in a PR blitz.
Bombshell documents released on Monday by the office of the New York Attorney General, Letitia James, show that Chris exchanged dozens of text messages with his brother Andrew's top aide, Melissa DeRosa.
Chris Cuomo told investigators under oath that they only had 'irregular contact'. He apologized to his viewers earlier this year for his getting involved, but insisted he would always put family first.
Lindsey Boylan, the first of 12 woman to publicly accuse the former governor of sexual harassment, shared a scathing take on the Attorney General's documents on Monday.
'It's almost as if a whole system is set up to protect powerful men from accountability,' she tweeted.
'Two things I will never fully understand: how many people can let abuse after abuse happen without speaking up and how many people need to see a group of women cry on camera to believe we are telling the truth about that abuse.'
Boylan, a former Cuomo adviser, came forward publicly last December on Twitter to claim that the governor had sexually harassed her, made comments on her looks and at one point asked if she would play a game of strip poker with him.
Lindsey Boylan, seen in March, on Monday tweeted her anger at the news that Chris Cuomo had been actively assisting his brother with his media response to the sexual harassment scandal
Boylan, the first of 12 woman to publicly accuse the former governor of sexual harassment, shared a scathing take on the documents Monday
She said on Twitter: 'it's almost as if a whole system is set up to protect powerful white men from accountability'
Newly-released texts from CNN host Chris Cuomo (right) reveal he helped strategize brother Andrew Cuomo's (left) response to the sexual harassment scandal earlier this year
Chris Cuomo returned to CNN to host his show on Monday night after the Thanksgiving break, and pointedly ignored the revelations.
CNN said their star host's fate will be decided in the 'next several days' after damning texts showed how he helped his brother and used sources to dig up 'dirt' on accusers - moves that drew the ire of the former governor's first accuser.
The 51-year-old news anchor used his show on Monday to discuss Omicron, the new COVID variant, and the row between far right congresswoman Lauren Boebert and Ilhan Omar, the Muslim congresswoman representing Minnesota.
He then discussed smash-and-grab robberies across the country, and rising crime.
When he was criticized for failing to mention the scandal, CNN's media commentator tweeted: 'For what it's worth, when Chris Cuomo addressed his actions on the air back in August, he said 'this will be my final word on it,' and he hasn't addressed the matter on TV since.'
Chris said on his show: 'I hope your Thanksgiving was a reminder for everybody of the good people, and the good things, in your life,' he said.
'Lord knows we could use the help, right?'
Andrew Cuomo is seen in July testifying before the Attorney General's investigative team
Chris Cuomo on Monday night ignored the subject of his own communications with his brother Andrew and his team earlier this year, during the then-governor's sexual harassment scandal
Cuomo, 51, used the opening segment of his show to discuss the new COVID variant, Omicron, and accuse the media of having over-hyped the mutant strain
[email protected] says we should treat Omicron as an unknown until we actually know.
“We don’t really know what the threat of this one is,” he says of the latest variant. “…When you know, when you can show why there should be concern, come with it.” pic.twitter.com/1PfwjdrEJA— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) November 30, 2021
He began his show with a discussion of Omicron.
'I will take a little bit of a different take than a lot of other media. I don't know that it helped, this Thanksgiving holiday, to have the news media blasting word of this new variant, Omicron.
'Of course the information is news. But the timing, the tone, the hype, goes way beyond that which is justified by the urgency at this point.
'We don't know that much.'
He said the 'more questions than answers' presentation was because it was new, and it was being spun as being deeply troubling.
'They don't know symptoms - anecdotally, a clinician said they were mild.
'Instead, there is too much talk about not knowing if it's resistant.
'We don't know if it's worse than Delta.'
He lamented 'the feverish concern'.
Chris returned to the subject in his handover to Don Lemon, with Lemon saying that he was glad Chris had a good Thanksgiving with his family.
Lemon showered praise on Chris, saying he was grateful for his friendship and his kindness.
Chris's decision on Monday not to discuss the saga involving his involvement in his brother's situation came despite previously having vowed to be open with his viewers.
The New York-born presenter has had a difficult time trying to judge when to discuss the scandal, and when to ignore it.
On March 1, he said that he was aware of the accusations about his brother, after a third woman came forward to accuse him, but could not report on it.
'Obviously I am aware of what is going on with my brother,' he said.
'And obviously I cannot cover it because he is my brother. Now, of course CNN has to cover it. They have covered it extensively and they will continue to do so.'
He then moved on, having thanked his audience 'for being straight with me, and I've always been straight with you'. He said he 'always cared very deeply about these issues, and profoundly so.'
Several weeks of extremely uncomfortable handovers then ensued, as Chris refused to discuss the news - which at the time was a big story - while his co-hosts before and after discussed it extensively.
Despite having said he did not want to talk about it, when news of his assistance for his brother emerged in May, Chris apologized to viewers and colleagues.
When the New York attorney general's report was published, on August 3, Chris Cuomo pointedly refused to discuss it - even while it was the lead item on his colleagues' shows.
On August 16, shortly after Andrew resigned, Chris addressed it again, defending his behavior during the sex harassment scandal engulfing his brother - telling CNN viewers that he was not an adviser to Governor Andrew Cuomo, but rather: 'I'm a brother.'
Chris's stated intention of ignoring the story, and then being forced repeatedly to address it, has led to the anchor having a torrid year, with frequent calls for him to be fired.
In a statement to DailyMail.com on Monday evening, CNN said: 'The thousands of pages of additional transcripts and exhibits that were released today by the NY Attorney General deserve a thorough review and consideration.
'We will be having conversations and seeking additional clarity about their significance as they relate to CNN over the next several days.'
Text messages released by James' office detailed Cuomo's role in his brother's public relations crisis as he told senior members of the governor's team, 'we are making mistakes we cant afford.'
Texts also revealed Cuomo used his connections to find out about accusers, telling DeRosa he 'a lead on the wedding girl,' in reference to Anna Ruch (left), who told The New York Times the governor became 'aggressive toward her during a September 2019 wedding
Melissa DeRosa, former secretary to the governor, exchanged dozens of messages with Chris Cuomo as her boss's sexual harassment scandal was unfolding
In one text, on March 3, he also asked DeRosa to 'please let me help with prep'.
He also crafted at least two statements for his brother, one regarding accuser Charlotte Bennett's claims, and another on Andrew's refusal to resign. Lines from the latter statement he provided by text were used by his brother.
Texts also revealed Chris Cuomo used his connections to find out about accusers, telling DeRosa he had 'a lead on the wedding girl,' in reference to Anna Ruch, who told The New York Times the governor became 'aggressive' toward her during a September 2019 wedding.
Other texts show that he asked another journalist for information on a story being written by Ronan Farrow for the New Yorker, which centered around Boylan - whose story prompted other woman to come forward.
She said he cupped her face in his hands and asked: 'Can I kiss you?'
Cuomo - who earns $6 million annually at CNN, according to Celebrity Net Worth - later told investigators that he reached out to a 'non-journalistic' source while fishing for information on the wedding incident.
He also told investigators that as the scandal exploded, he reached out other journalists to learn whether other complainants might come forward.
The text exchange at one point turned to Farrow, who won the Pulitzer Prize and helped launch the #MeToo movement after his reporting on disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
Texts show Andrew Cuomo's team was worried about an article journalist Ronan Farrow (pictured) was working on, and asked his brother to look into it
Pages of text exchanges between Chris Cuomo and Andrew Cuomo's top aid Melissa DeRosa were released by the New York Attorney General's office Monday. Investigators asked Cuomo during the investigation about a March 2021 text where he wrote to DeRosa: 'If Ronan has nothing better – better than Boylan, that's a great sign'
Investigators asked Cuomo during the investigation about a March 2021 text where he wrote to DeRosa: 'If Ronan has nothing better – better than Boylan, that's a great sign'.
He later elaborated to investigators that 'the concern was that Ronan always has more people. You know, I mean, that's part of his currency as a journalist, is that people come to him to expand understandings. I know he has his critics. But, to me, that's when he's at his best.
'So the assumption was he must have new people if he's waiting so long to have written about this. And then he didn't. So, what the context is specifically is: I had heard that all he was writing – the only person he was writing about was Lindsey Boylan.'
'When Ronan Farrow writes, something, people in the media are going to talk about it,' he said.
He said he discussed the article with his brother after it was published March 18.
'[The conversation was] just asking him, you know, how how he felt about it, what was in it,' Chris Cuomo told investigators.
'And him asking me what did I think the impact of it was.
'He said that he didn't think the article was fair, that she was being propped up and - you know, that's it.'
In another exchange, DeRosa asked Chris Cuomo about a 'rumor going around from politico 1-2 more ppl coming out tomorrow'.
She also asked him to check his sources, to which he responded, 'no one has heard yet'.
Anna Ruch, now 33, met Andrew Cuomo at her friends' wedding in September 2019. He was photographed cupping her face
Though he admitted to researching forthcoming accusers, he vehemently denied to investigators setting out to discredit them.
'I would never do oppo research on anybody alleging anything like this,' he told investigators.
'I'm not in the oppo research business. I don't tolerate a lot of oppo research on any level.'
When asked to define 'oppo research', he said: 'the idea of trying to find ways to disparage people who come forward with allegations like this is not what I'm about.'
The text exchanges contradict Chris Cuomo's claims to investigators that he had 'irregular contact' with DeRosa. His testimony was subject to the penalty of perjury.
He on March 12 sent her a text, dictating how the governor should respond to calls for his resignation.
'READ THIS,' Cuomo said. 'I will not resign. I cannot resign. I am in a different position and I am working with a different standard than these other politicians 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.'
Discussions centered around Andrew Cuomo stepping down prompted the governor to consider doing so in March, Cuomo said.
'I told him, 'If you have done nothing that you believe was wrong, don't resign,' Cuomo told investigators. 'Because resigning is you saying that you did something wrong. Don't do it.'
Pages of texts show Cuomo strategizing the former governor's response to the allegations with DeRosa.
In one exchange he questions why one of his statements on Charlotte Bennett's claims were not used, asking DeRosa: 'What happened to the statement?'
He sent a follow-up message March 1.
It read: 'Here's what he should have said: 'I have carefully considered Ms. Bennett's statement and my own conduct. I don't dispute that our conversation was as she reports. I also do not dispute that my words and supervisory position may have created a hostile work environment. I apologize to Ms. Bennett and will promptly seek to personally communicate my apology to her. I also apologize to the people of New York State, who have a right to better conduct from their Governor. This will not happen again.''
Cuomo also sent DeRosa a later statement which his brother used lines from in responding to the allegations against him.
Pages of texts messages released by AG Letitia James shows how Chris Cuomo strategized with his brother Andrew's office, specifically with top aide Melissa DeRosa
REVEALED: Chris Cuomo's 'friend' told Alec Baldwin to post 14-minute rant on cancel culture to back up Andrew Cuomo
CNN host Chris Cuomo told investigators from the Attorney General's office that he had tried to keep 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin from ranting about cancel culture and meddling in favor of his disgraced ex-governor brother.
Bombshell documents released Monday by New York AG Letitia James' office on Monday show that it was the ex-governor's then-aide, Melissa DeRosa, who alerted his brother to Baldwin's 14-minute rant published on DailyMail.com where he hit out at sexual misconduct allegations leveled at Andrew Cuomo.
In a text, Cuomo responded that 'my friend asked him [Baldwin] to do it ... Very close to him.'
During subpoenaed testimony with investigators on July 15, Cuomo said he asked his friend to tell Baldwin, who is now facing his own controversy after fatally shooting 'Rust' cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, to stay out of the scandal.
'I said, Tell him to stay out of it,' Chris Cuomo told investigators. 'It's not necessary.
He said, 'Well, he's going to do it. And I think it's a good idea for him to do it. He wants to talk about these things.'
DeRosa said during her deposition that she talked to Cuomo 'pretty regularly' during the scandal and the kept firing over advice that nobody asked for.
'Chris sends me a lot of things a lot of the time,' she told investigators. 'Half of it I don't engage in. He gives unsolicited 22 advice.'
Cuomo told investigators that he urged his brother to be truthful ahead of a March 3 press conference.
'Every time somebody has to ask you a question about something specific, it's an opportunity you had to get out in front of this that wasn't taken,' Cuomo said. 'And that this is not a competition. This is not you versus the accuser. And you don't phrase it that way, and you avoid any implication of that.
'That was my biggest set of concerns for him in terms of how this was handled. Everything else to me was just verbiage.'
CNN previously banned Cuomo from helping his brother plot how to respond to allegations he sexually harassed 11 women, and it is unclear if him telling Andrew to resign could be considered a breach of that prohibition.
In August, Chris Cuomo used his CNN show to defend his behavior during the sex harassment scandal engulfing his brother - telling viewers that he was not an adviser to Governor Andrew Cuomo, but rather: 'I'm a brother.'
'I tried to do the right thing and I just want you all to know that,' he said.
Both CNN and its star journalist have faced criticism for his interactions with his older brother.
Once Andrew was accused of sexual harassment, Chris began assisting him with media strategy - to the anger of CNN colleagues, including Jake Tapper, who said it put them in a difficult situation.
In May, when news of his assistance emerged, Chris apologized to viewers and colleagues.
And when the New York attorney general's report was published on August 3 - prompting his brother to resign - Chris Cuomo pointedly refused to discuss it, even while it was the lead item on his colleagues' shows.
He said he did not, this time, advise his brother on media strategy.
'I wasn't in control of anything,' Cuomo said on the air.
'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.
'Finally, accept that it doesn't matter what you intended, what matters is how your actions and your words are perceived.'
While he never imagined he would have to do it, 'I did advise my brother to resign when the time came,' he said.
Last week, Andrew Cuomo was condemned as a sex pest who committed multiple impeachable offenses in a new official report.
The investigation, by New York's state assembly's judiciary committee, was released November 22 and found 'overwhelming evidence' that Cuomo sexually harassed 12 women.
The 12th victim, mother-of-three Sherry Vill, previously came forward to detail Cuomo's alleged manhandling and forcible kissing while touring her flood-damaged home in 2017.
She was not included in James's August report, but the judiciary committee said it had since corroborated her claims.
Pages of text exchanges between Chris Cuomo and Andrew Cuomo's top aid Melissa DeRosa were released by the New York Attorney General's office Monday
The report released by the Attorney General's office on Monday also revealed that in one text message, Cuomo said 'his friend' asked actor Alec Baldwin to post commentary online, referencing Baldwin's 14-minute Instagram rant earlier this year where he hit out and defended due process amid sexual misconduct allegations leveled at Andrew Cuomo and Woody Allen.
'My friend asked him to do it,' Cuomo said in a message to DeRosa. 'Very close to him.'
During subpoenaed testimony with investigators July 15, Cuomo said he asked his friend to tell Baldwin to stay out of the scandal.
'I said, Tell him to stay out of it,' Cuomo told investigators.
'It's not necessary. He said, 'Well, he's going to do it. And I think it's a good idea for him to do it. He wants to talk about these things.''
Cuomo said toward the end of the deposition that his brother feels guilty for dragging him into the mess.
'My brother has a lot of regret that I've had this negatively affect me,' he said.
'Doesn't feel good to have your family be scrutinized for something that's about you, let alone when that scrutiny is patently unfair and being weaponized in ways to hurt you as the primary, you know, which is what Andrew is, and to hurt me. And I know he feels that. And it hurts him.'
Andrew Cuomo sips Dunkin Donuts coffee and snaps at lawyers as he denies sexually harassing staff but admits he 'might have' kissed some on the lips in 11 HOUR video deposition
Video of former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo being deposed for eleven hours over claims he sexually harassed staff has been released by Attorney General Letitia James, along with videos of all of the women who accused him.
The 11-hour footage was put online by James on Monday and shows Cuomo, 63, sipping coffee from a Dunkin Donuts cup, sitting back in his chair, positioning his reading glasses and becoming agitated as attorneys ask him repeated questions about whether or not he ever touched, kissed, hugged or spoke to staff inappropriately.
Cuomo has been charged with one count of misdemeanor forcible touching for allegedly groping the breast of Brittany Commisso, a former aide and one of the ten women in AG James' report. He is due in court in January in Albany.
The charge came after AG James released her report in August that claimed he was a serial sex abuser.
The deposition was part of the investigation that produced that report. It was in New York City on July 17, 2021.
The deposition transcript was released earlier this year and is 500 pages long.
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Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was deposed in July for the Attorney General's report
Cuomo lowered his glasses, snapped back at investigators and became agitated at times
At one point he told the room: ''I understand. I'm a former Attorney General. I'm aware of the Attorney General's power. I'm aware of the special prosecutor power, independent investigator power, and I understand there may be subsequent investigations to this investigation, yes.'
The special investigators asked Cuomo during it first if he understood the purpose of the investigation and the process it would take, which he became agitated about.
'I understand. I'm a former Attorney General. I'm aware of the Attorney General's power. I'm aware of the special prosecutor power, independent investigator power, and I understand there may be subsequent investigations to this investigation, yes.'
He was quizzed about when he'd last had sexual harassment training, how much power he gave some aides - namely Stephanie Benton, who has the authority to use an electronic pen to sign Cuomo's signature when he was in office - and then he was asked whether he'd inappropriately touched any of the women.
As he has in the past, Cuomo said that he often kissed people on the cheek but he admitted in his deposition he couldn't 'rule out' having ever kissed staff on the lips.
'I kiss on the cheek. There may be an occasion where a staff member kissed me on the lips. But I kiss on the cheek as a rule.
'I don't recall anyone specifically, but it could happen that somebody kisses on the lips.
'You know, some people peck on the lips, never a romantic kiss, but some people peck on the lips.'
On New Year's Eve, 2019, Commisso claims Cuomo grabbed her buttocks before they took this selfie. He says it's untrue, that she was excited by the picture and was 'flirtatious' with him
Elsewhere he said: 'I'm not going to rule out that I've ever kissed on the lips' and 'I may very well have touched her lower back,' when referring to hugging a woman.
He referred to Brittany Commisso, the woman accusing him of forcible touching, as 'flirtatious' and told how she had begged him for a raise months before she claimed he'd assaulted her.
Cuomo complained that it was a 'political' investigation, telling the lawyers quizzing him: 'This is a biased political investigation as we know. And that's what it is.'
He maintains that James only completed the report and made such a damning assessment of him because she wants his job. She recently announced plans to run for Governor next year.
The accusers' depositions were also recorded, though they were interviewed.
Commisso was deposed on May 17, Lindsay Boylan was deposed three days later.
Charlotte Bennett, Virginia Limmiatis, Anna Liss and Alyssa McGrath were also all deposed.
Limmatis claimed he ran his fingers across her shirt, grazing her breasts, in May 2017 after an energy conservation event.
Brittany Commisso, left, is who Cuomo has been charged with forcibly touching. He is due in court in January. Lindsey Boylan, right, claims he asked her to play strip poker and forcibly kissed her on the lips
Charlotte Bennett, left, worked for the governor and said he made inappropriate remarks to her. Virginia Limmatis, right, said he ran his fingers across her breasts
Ana Liss, left, said Cuomo kissed her hand and asked her if she had a boyfriend. Alyssa McGrath, right, said he told her she was beautiful
Former aide Lindsay Boylan, 36, was the first woman to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment in a Medium post on February 24. She claimed that the governor asked her to play strip poker and kissed her on the lips without her permission when she worked for him in 2017.
Charlotte Bennett, 25, came forward a few days after Boylan and claimed that Cuomo sexually harassed her last June while she was working as a health policy adviser in his administration at the height of the COVID-19 crisis.
Bennett accused Cuomo of 'grooming' her and asking inappropriate questions about her sex life.
She also claimed that he told her he was open to dating women in their 20s.
Newly-released texts from CNN host Chris Cuomo (right) reveal he helped strategize brother Andrew Cuomo's (left) response to the sexual harassment scandal earlier this year
Pages of texts messages released by AG Letitia James shows how Chris Cuomo strategised with his brother Andrew's office, specifically with top aide Melissa DeRosa
Ana Liss, 35, a former aide, said Cuomo asked her whether she had a boyfriend, once kissed her hand at her desk and called her by patronizing names, including 'blondie,' 'sweetheart' and 'honey.'
At a reception, the governor hugged her then put his arm around her lower back and waist as they posed for photo, Liss said.
She said she eventually asked for a job transfer. In an interview, Liss said she was 'not claiming sexual harassment per se,' but felt the administration 'wasn't a safe space for young women to work.'
Liss, who previously served as Cuomo's policy and operations aide between 2013 and 2015, told the Wall Street Journal that during her time in his administration, the governor had subjected her to unsolicited advances, including touching her lower back, kissing her hand and quizzing her about her love life.
Alyssa McGrath, 33, administrative assistant in Cuomo's office, told The New York Times that he looked down her shirt, quizzed her about her marital status, and told her she was beautiful, using an Italian phrase she had to ask her parents to interpret.
McGrath didn't say the governor made sexual contact with her but thought his behavior was sexual harassment.
She recalled Cuomo kissing her on the forehead and gripping her firmly around the sides while posing for a photo at a 2019 office Christmas party.