The newly released report from Attorney General Letitia James’s office on sexual-harassment allegations against Governor Andrew Cuomo also shed some light on the involvement of the governor’s younger brother, Chris Cuomo.
Tuesday’s report stated that as more allegations against Cuomo emerged in the spring, “the Governor’s team of advisors from within and outside the Chamber had ongoing and regular discussions about how to respond to the allegations publicly.” This team included Chris as well as top staffers like Melissa DeRosa and Rich Azzopardi.
The report said these advisers suggested that the governor “express contrition” in the wake of accusations from Charlotte Bennett, a former aide.
The attorney general’s office attached three appendixes to the report, which included various documents, text messages, and other exhibits crucial to the investigation. One of these was an email from Chris that appears to be the draft of a statement intended to be read by the governor.
The draft greatly resembles Governor Cuomo’s press release from February 28, including references to alleged inappropriate comments.
“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 draft reads.
The report also revealed that Chris had given testimony to the attorney general’s investigators, saying there was talk about the executive chamber implementing new measures in response to the allegations but that some believed “they should just wait.”
Azzopardi, the governor’s communications director, testified to investigators that the outside advisers were “people who have been with us for a long time who we could trust.”
The actions of the younger Cuomo bring up plenty of ethical questions considering his role as a journalist. The pair had already raised eyebrows when the governor began making appearances on his brother’s prime-time CNN show in 2020. The network previously said there was a rule in place since 2013 that barred the governor from being covered by his brother but that an exception was made due to the pandemic.
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