NEW YORK — Blood, apparently, is thicker than water.
Newly released testimony from CNN anchor Chris Cuomo reveals he shared information from “sources” with a top aide to his brother, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as part of their effort to perform damage control in response to sexual harassment allegations.
In sworn testimony, Chris Cuomo told investigators from the state attorney general’s office that he “would reach out to sources [and] other journalists” in an effort to gauge whether other women would come forward after Lindsey Boylan first accused the former governor of forcibly kissing her in February.
The revelation prompted a quick response from CNN spokesman Matt Dornic, who said the newly released materials “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,” he said.
According to his testimony, the outreach from the high-profile TV reporter came at the behest of Melissa DeRosa, who served as secretary to the governor at the time — his highest-ranking aide.
“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 of maybe two more were coming and could I find out,” said Cuomo of the possibility of more accusers coming forward.
When asked if he had ever reached out on his own — not at the prompting of DeRosa — Chris Cuomo replied: “No.”
At one point, in a reference to Anna Ruch, one of the accusers who claims the former governor groped her at a wedding, Chris Cuomo reported to De Rosa that he had “a lead on the wedding girl.”
“Someone called me who knew the bride’s family,” he said during one portion of his testimony, which was partially redacted by the AG’s office. “My friend had heard that maybe she’d been put up to it.”
The 348-page transcript of the TV anchor’s statements were among thousands of pages of testimony released Monday afternoon by the attorney general’s office. The newly released transcripts include testimony from DeRosa, Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi and Alphonso David, the governor’s former counsel.
Transcripts from Cuomo’s accusers were released earlier this month.
All of it stems from the report put out by Attorney General Letitia James in August that found Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women and came as a devastating blow to the already embattled leader. He resigned in disgrace a week after its publication.
The tranche of testimony released Monday also included videotape of the former governor’s testimony.
In his July 17 statements to investigators, Cuomo wore a navy blue suit and a light blue tie. At times, he sipped from a Dunkin’ Donuts cup, at others, he put on his glasses.
About an hour into the testimony, he calmly dodged questions from the interrogator, Joon Kim, about the meaning of the word girlfriend. Smirking slightly, he said: “Nowadays, Mr. Kim, I believe you have to be very careful about how you define what term.”
At the end of his day-long testimony, which finished about 7 p.m. that day, Cuomo sat back in his chair. “I would like to say it’s been a pleasure, Mr. Kim, but I’m under oath,” he declared, laughing.
On Monday, James’ office also released video of testimony from some of Cuomo’s accusers as well: Charlotte Bennett, Lindsay Boylan, Brittany Commisso, Ana Liss, Virginia Limmiatis and Alyssa McGrath.
The attorney general’s office is releasing documents and exhibits from the probe on a “rolling basis” and is proceeding “pending redactions to protect the privacy of individuals,” the office said in a Monday morning statement. The office also released transcripts from interviews with Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, and his brother, Chris Cuomo.
“Additional transcripts and exhibits will be released as they are available,” said the statement.
James’ office had previously published transcripts from the six accusers who appeared in videos released Monday. A 515-page transcript of Cuomo’s testimony was first made public on Nov. 10.
Cuomo, a Democrat, denies the allegations of sexual harassment. Azzopardi has described James’ investigation as politically motivated and said Monday that James selectively redacted transcripts to suit her political ends.
“Today’s manipulated release of hand-picked witness testimony with selective redactions is typical. She even edited the Governor’s video testimony! It is also no coincidence that she decided to release select transcripts minutes before one of her rivals declared for governor,” he said, referring to Rep. Tom Suozzi’s announcement that he’d run for governor Monday.
James is running in next year’s Democratic primary for governor. The findings of her office’s probe — which was conducted by independent investigators she appointed — were supported by a state Assembly impeachment report published a week ago.