CNN host Chris Cuomo testified in the months-long investigation that ruled on Tuesday that his older brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, had violated state and federal law by repeatedly harassing staffers.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday morning released the results of her office’s probe into the Democratic governor’s alleged misconduct, ultimately concluding that he violated laws, harassed state employees, and retaliated against an accuser.
The findings noted that the governor’s younger brother Chris, a CNN host, testified in the probe, telling investigators that “there was discussion about remedial measures [the governor’s office] should take in light of the sexual harassment allegations, but some people had taken the position that ‘they should just wait.’ When asked about any remedial measures during his testimony, the governor testified that the Chamber is ‘talking to people about’ them.”
Furthermore, the attorney general’s findings confirmed how, as previously reported, Chris Cuomo advised his gubernatorial brother on how to respond to the unfolding harassment allegations. And, according to one email included in the attorney general’s report, the CNN host appeared to be involved in the drafting of his older brother’s public statements on the matter.
“I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm,” the younger Cuomo wrote in one email, “sometimes I am playful and make jokes. You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times. My only desire is to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business.” The CNN host’s email continued: “I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended. I’m sorry and feel deeply embarrassed about that.”
The majority of the text in the CNN host’s email ended up in a Feb. 28, 2021 statement from the governor—though it is unclear the actual level of involvement the younger Cuomo had in drafting the words.
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the primetime anchor’s testimony, his various appearances in the attorney general’s documents, or whether he plans to address the report on his show Tuesday evening.
The Washington Post reported earlier this year that the CNN host advised his brother and senior members of the governor’s staff on how to respond to the sexual harassment allegations from multiple women. The younger Cuomo reportedly “encouraged his brother to take a defiant position and not to resign from the governor’s office” and, in one meeting, reportedly cited “cancel culture” as a reason not to give in to public outrage.
The CNN host apologized on his program that evening, admitting to “being looped into calls and telling viewers: “I understand why that was a problem for CNN. It will never happen again.” He further asserted that “I know where the line is. I can respect it and still be there for my family, which I must. I have to do that. I love my brother, I love my family, I love my job. And I love and respect my colleagues here at CNN. And again, to them I am truly sorry.”
And in a town-hall meeting that week, CNN boss Jeff Zucker claimed he understood the “unease” over Cuomo advising his brother, agreeing that “he did cross a line.” However, the network executive told staffers, he opted not to suspend Cuomo and instead have him personally apologize on-air to his viewers.