The long-awaited investigation report from the New York State attorney general's office released Tuesday that concluded Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed current and former staff members has also revealed the level of involvement his brother, CNN host Chris Cuomo, had in advising his brother on how to handle the allegations.
According to the report, investigators obtained internal documents and communications that revealed Chris Cuomo, along with numerous other advisors, counseled the governor to "express contrition" in the wake of Charlotte Bennett's allegations being published in late February.
Portions of lines proposed by Chris Cuomo were reportedly used in the governor's February 28 statement.
"Questions have been raised about some of my personal interactions with people in my office," Chris Cuomo reportedly wrote in an email communication, according to The Hill. "I spend most of my life at work and colleagues are often also personal friends. I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm."
In a press release issued on February 28, the day after Bennett's allegations came to light, Governor Cuomo expressed similar sentiments.
"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 acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that," wrote Governor Cuomo.
In the Feb. 27 chain of messages, it was also revealed that political consultant Lis Smith wrote, "I don't love that part but Chris/Andrew wanted in" and "Chris wants to make sure we have enough contrition in here."
According to The Hill, Chris Cuomo was also reportedly copied in a series of emails advising the governor on how to respond to Bennett's allegations, with Chris Cuomo and other advisors having "counseled" the governor "to express contrition after the press published Ms. Bennett's allegations."
Chris Cuomo was listed as one in a long list of those who advised the governor, despite having no official executive role in the New York government.
"We also find it revealing and consistent with the Executive Chamber's overall approach that, when faced with allegations of sexual harassment brought against the Governor, the inner circle of confidantes brought in to control and direct the response included a number of individuals with no official role in the Executive Chamber," the report states.
Chris Cuomo was one of 179 people interviewed during the investigation into 11 sexual harassment allegations from different women.
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