Former top Andrew Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa said CNN host Chris Cuomo would offer “unsolicited” advice on sexual misconduct allegations against his brother and other matters, contradicting what the “Cuomo Prime Time” host told viewers, according to her testimony to New York state investigators.
DeRosa was attempting to explain to state investigators that the CNN host offered advice without actually understanding what happened between Charlotte Bennett, who accused then-Gov. Cuomo of sexual harassment, and his brother. DeRosa didn’t think the Cuomo siblings actually discussed the alleged incident and CNN’s most-watched host simply “gleaned” information about his troubled big brother from conference calls he participated in with trusted advisors and members of the governor’s inner circle.
Investigators then asked DeRosa about a statement Chris Cuomo drafted for his brother, where she noted she ignores much of what he sends her way.
“Chris sends me a lot of things a lot of the time. Half of it I don’t engage in. He gives unsolicited advice,” DeRosa said.
New York Attorney General Letitia James also released text messages sent between DeRosa and Chis Cuomo in which the CNN host told her what the official statement “should have said,” the CNN host declaring he would check sources of a rumored Politico piece, admitting his friend asked actor Alec Baldwin to defend the governor against cancel culture, and a variety of other messages.
“Goddam I panic every f——g time I see your name. The talk is precarious. I worry about this ‘if investigation proves allegation he has to go,” Cuomo texted DeRosa in March. “Please let me help with the prep.”
Another text message indicates Chris Cuomo told DeRosa, “We are making mistakes we can’t afford,” while urging her to trust him. Another text sent by Cuomo asked DeRosa to “delete thread now.”
The CNN host crafted a statement for his big brother that was sent to DeRosa via text message in which he declared, “I will not resign. I cannot resign. I am in a different position and I am working with a different stand than these other politicians,” amid calls for him to step aside as sexual misconduct allegations poured in.
The text messages and DeRosa’s claim contradict what the “Cuomo Prime Time” host has told viewers.
In August, Cuomo assured his audience, “I’m not an advisor, I’m a brother,” during his return to air following the resignation of his brother.
“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 do to be better, be contrite and finally, accept that it doesn’t matter what you intended, what matters is how your actions and words were perceived,” Cuomo said.
The City reporter Josefa Velásquez tweeted images of the text messages released by the New York attorney general.
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cuomo resigned just one week after James released her damning report that outlined sexual harassment allegations from 11 women.
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.