Ex-CNN star Chris Cuomo “could sometimes be a d–k” to staffers who were advising his brother, Andrew Cuomo, as they grappled with the sexual harassment allegations that eventually brought down the former New York governor, according to a new book.
“I work in the media, you don’t,” Chris Cuomo was reported to have told his brother’s advisers last year during the throes of the scandal that finally led Andrew to resign the governorship.
“I know this business, you don’t,” the former “Cuomo Prime Time” host is reported to have said.
The claims were made by Lis Smith, the Democratic Party political strategist who was part of the team advising the then-governor.
Smith, a former spokesperson for ex-New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, is the author of a book titled “Any Given Tuesday: A Political Love Story.” The book, published by Harper, is due out on July 19.
Before she served as an informal adviser to Andrew Cuomo, Smith’s name made headlines for her relationship with then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer.
Chris Cuomo was fired by CNN last year after it was learned that he was part of his brother’s inner circle of advisers who were helping the then-governor with his communications strategy.
The CNN anchor’s intimate involvement in Andrew Cuomo’s came to light thanks to a report conducted by New York State Attorney General Letitia James.
James’ report claimed that Chris Cuomo used his press connections to help his brother’s staff pry into the past of a woman who accused him of inappropriately touching her – and then participated in strategy sessions aimed at helping the governor beat the sexual harassment scandal that eventually forced him to resign.
Chris Cuomo himself was accused of sexual misconduct by a young intern at ABC News who alleged that she was assaulted sometime in 2011. Cuomo has denied the allegation.
Chris Cuomo was fired by his then-boss at CNN, network president Jeff Zucker. Weeks after the firing, Zucker would himself step down after it was learned that he had been carrying on a consensual relationship with his top marketing officer, Allison Gollust.
In an excerpt published by Politico on Friday, Smith described how Chris Cuomo was a moderating influence on his older brother, who was eager to undertake a scorched earth campaign to discredit the women who were accusing him of sexual misconduct.
Andrew Cuomo resigned from office last August after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment.
He denied allegations he touched women inappropriately, including a charge by one aide that he groped her breast, and claimed his accusers had misconstrued comments he’d intended to be friendly banter.
“[The governor] wanted to accuse [the woman who alleged he groped her in the governor’s mansion] of having financial motivations,” Smith writes.
“He wanted to expose her for hiring a notorious Albany-area ambulance chaser. He wanted to go after her character head-on…”
Smith recalls that it was Chris Cuomo who “finally got him to back off.”
According to Smith, the former CNN anchor “was oftentimes the last bulwark against his brother’s worst instincts.”
She wrote: “He could be more direct with Andrew than any of us could be. He leveled with him on calls, telling him in no uncertain terms that his behavior was inappropriate, that he needed to be more apologetic and that he could never, ever come across like he was attacking his accusers.”