New details emerged on Tuesday about the involvement of the star CNN anchor Chris Cuomo had in shaping the strategic response to allegations against his brother, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, of workplace sexual harassment.
Chris Cuomo was identified in a report by the New York State attorney general, Letitia James, as an ongoing participant in strategy calls with Governor Cuomo’s inner circle. That group was described to investigators by Richard Azzopardi, the governor’s senior adviser, as “people who have been with us for a long time who we could trust.”
One document included in the report shows Chris Cuomo participating in an email chain on Feb. 28 in which the group drafted a formal public statement for Governor Cuomo; the statement was issued by the governor’s office later that day. Chris Cuomo appeared to weigh in on the wording of the statement, although it was unclear if he wrote it.
Chris Cuomo was also interviewed by investigators from Ms. James’s office as part of their preparation of the report.
CNN had no immediate comment on Tuesday.
Chris Cuomo apologized to CNN viewers in May when it was revealed that he had offered political advice to his brother, a clear breach of traditional ethical barriers between journalists and lawmakers. The anchor, whose 9 p.m. show is CNN’s highest-rated program, called his actions “a mistake,” but he also described himself as “family first, job second.”
CNN took no disciplinary action against its anchor. The network issued a statement calling Chris Cuomo’s actions “inappropriate” and noting that it had previously barred him from covering news stories involving his brother.
In the early days of the pandemic, however, Governor Cuomo was a frequent guest on his brother’s CNN program, especially after Chris Cuomo, who is 13 years younger than the governor, tested positive for the coronavirus. The anchor’s on-air interviews with his brother, which Chris Cuomo conducted from isolation in the basement of his family home, riveted viewers and were praised by CNN’s president, Jeff Zucker.
On Tuesday, CNN aired coverage of Ms. James’s report, and the network carried Governor Cuomo’s televised response live. At one point, the CNN anchor John King acknowledged his network colleague’s involvement in a brief statement to viewers.
“I want to put this on the record,” Mr. King said during his midday show. “Many of you know this, but the governor’s brother, Chris, works right here at CNN as an anchor. We should note that he was interviewed as part of this report, as someone who reached out to talk to his brother as this crisis was unfolding.”