CNN’s Chris Cuomo snooped into the progress of Ronan Farrow’s reporting about his brother Andrew Cuomo and relayed it to the governor’s inner circle, according to a newly released transcript of his testimony to New York state investigators in July.
Farrow, who famously won the Pulitzer Prize and helped launch the #MeToo movement with his reporting on disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, also took a deep dive into alleged sexual wrongdoing by former Gov. Cuomo, the CNN anchor’solder brother.
Chris Cuomo admitted to contacting colleagues of Farrow for updates but claimed it was simply “business-as-usual” to employ such methods. Text messages released by state investigators showed top Andrew Cuuomo aide Melissa DeRosa asking about “intel the CNN anchor had about Farrow’s report on March 15, to which he replied it wasn’t ready for publication. Farrrow’s story was eventually published on March 18.
Cuomo’s admission contradicts what he told CNN viewers in August when he claimed, “I never made calls to the press about my brother’s situation.”
According to the transcript released last week, an attorney brought up the topic by asking the “Cuomo Prime Time” host if he recalled the governor’s team discussing Farrow’s article.
“They were very concerned and it kept moving. What they thought it was about was moving, when it was coming out was moving,” Cuomo said. “When Ronan Farrow writes something, people in the media are going to talk about it.”
The CNN host was then asked if he discussed Farrow’s reporting with his big brother.
“Yes,” the CNN host responded before being asked to elaborate.
“Just asking him, you know, how he – how he felt about it, what was in it. And him asking me what did I think the impact of it was,” he said. “He said that he didn’t think the article was fair, that she was being propped up and – you know, that’s it.”
The CNN host then confirmed the “she” he referenced was Lindsey Boylan, the subject of the March 18, 2021, piece written by Farrow in which she gave her first extensive interview about her claims of harassment and retaliation by the now-former governor. Boylan’s allegation made to Farrow in the New Yorker came months after her initial tweet that then-Gov. Cuomo “sexually harassed me for years.” Following that accusation, multiple other women came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment.
CNN’s Cuomo was then asked about a March 2021 text message in which he wrote “If Ronan has nothing better – better than Boylan, that’s a great sign,” when texting with DeRosa. He was asked what exactly he meant by that comment.
“The concern was that Ronan always has more people. You know, I mean, that’s part of his currency as a journalist, is that people come to him to expand understandings. I know he has his critics. But, to me, that’s when he’s at his best,” Cuomo said.
“So the assumption was he must have new people if he’s waiting so long to have written about this. And then he didn’t. So, what the context is specifically is: I had heard that all he was writing – the only person he was writing about was Lindsey Boylan,” Cuomo continued. “So that means that he didn’t find more people to complain that, once again, I would have to experience this team being shocked that there was another person. Which was this never ending cycle that was very hard for a family member. That was the context.”
Cuomo then claimed he didn’t recall any additional conversations with members of the governor’s inner circle about additional allegations that could be reported by Farrow. An attorney then reminded Cuomo that he was asked three days before Farrow’s story was published if he had received “any more intel.”
“Story not ready for tomorrow,” Cuomo texted back, according to the transcript.
“They didn’t know when the Ronan piece was coming out. So I just asked people, did you hear about when the Ronan piece – we do this with him all the time. It’s a really good device that he has, that his people let you know that something’s coming, but they don’t tell you when,” CNN’s Cuomo said. “You know, so that there’s this – this constant speculation game. It’s really effective in driving interest for his articles.”
The story that CNN’s most-watched anchor then admitted he called Farrow’s colleagues to meddle in the reporting process.
“I called a fellow journalist who works with Ronan a lot. And I didn’t want to contact Ronan directly. I know him. He’s – he’s been good to me. He’s been on my show. But I didn’t want to – I didn’t want to push up on him like that. It’s not right,” Cuomo said. “I was told nothing’s coming right away.”
Cuomo was asked if he told CNN he was contacting people to ask about articles being written that could damage his brother.
“No, not specifically,” Cuomo said.
The attorney pressed, asking if Cuomo told CNN he was making calls on “behalf of the executive chamber or behalf of your brother to learn information” and whether that was out of the ordinary, but the CNN host claimed he didn’t see it that way.
“There was going to be an article about my brother. So I’m interested. I wasn’t going to call the person writing it. I wasn’t going to try to influence any of the stories. And we know that that’s true because you would have read about it had I. It’s not exactly a loyalty-based business,” Cuomo said. “If I had tried to influence any of the reporting at CNN or anywhere else, I guarantee you people would know, and so would a lot of others. So the idea of one reporter calling another to find out about what’s coming down the pipe is completely business-as-usual.”
Boylan, a former Cuomo aide who initially came forward in December 2020, was the first woman to accuse Andrew Cuomo of sexual misconduct. She was one of 11 accusers that were included in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation into Gov. Cuomo, which ultimately resulted in his resignation.
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.