New York State Attorney General Tish James announced today that an independent investigation found New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, many of whom current and former state employees. According to the investigation, Gov. Cuomo engaged in behavior that included kissing, groping, nonconsensual touching and making sexual remarks.
Independent investigators also said Gov. Cuomo and his senior staff created a “toxic” work culture, which included retaliating against one former staffer who came forward with allegations.
The AG’s 168-page investigative report also confirmed previous reporting by The Washington Post that CNN’s Chris Cuomo was part of “the Governor’s team of advisors from within and outside the Chamber [who] had ongoing and regular discussions about how to respond to the allegations publicly.”
Chris Cuomo apparently testified as part of the AG’s investigation.
From page 115 of the report:
“During his testimony, Chris Cuomo explained that there was discussion about remedial measures the Chamber should take in light of the sexual harassment allegations, but some people had taken the position that ‘they should just wait.'”
As part of his advisement, Chris Cuomo also produced a draft statement for the governor after an accuser named Charlotte Bennett came forward with her allegations. One of the lines is “sometimes I am playful and make jokes.”
Back in May, CNN chief Jeff Zucker decided against disciplining Cuomo when news broke that he had participated in these strategy sessions. During a CNN town hall with staffers, Zucker was asked why the 9 p.m. host wasn’t disciplined for his role. His response: “I am not surprised that Chris had conversations with his brother. Who wouldn’t? But he did cross the line by doing it with his brother’s aides present.” Zucker added, “There are not special rules for Chris” and that “he is human and these are very unique circumstances,” referring to the anchor’s relationship with the governor and the network’s grappling last year with how to cover a “once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.”
Zucker said during the town hall meeting that he didn’t see the point of suspending Cuomo, adding that taking him off the air temporarily would amount to “punishment for the sake of punishing.”
Cuomo later apologized to his viewers on-air for his decision to participate in these strategy sessions.
However, it’s now possible Zucker and CNN will change its stance on Chris Cuomo in light of this damning report about his brother. The network isn’t commenting at this time.