Fact Check

Did Jeffrey Toobin Comment on Cuomo Scandal?

A case of mistaken identity led to some criticism of CNN.

Published Aug 3, 2021

On Aug. 3, 2021, Jeffrey Toobin appeared on CNN to comment on the sexual assault allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

On Aug. 3, 2021, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the results of her investigation into sexual assault allegations against governor Andrew Cuomo, stating that they found Cuomo had harassed current and former employees. As the news broke, some social media outlets criticized CNN's coverage by claiming that they had invited lawyer Jeffrey Toobin, who was accused of masturbating on a Zoom call in 2020, to analyze the legal issues of the controversy.

This is a genuine screenshot showing CNN's coverage of this scandal. However, the man in the bottom left corner is not Toobin. This is actually CNN political director David Chalian.

The claim that Toobin, not Chalian, was comenting on this case for CNN was promulgated by a number of popular social media accounts, including those belonging to political commentator Clay Travis and former Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly. Travis followed up his errant tweet with a message stating that he incorrectly identified Chalian as Toobin:

While we wouldn't say that Chalian and Toobin are doppelgangers, they do bear some resemblance, and it appears that this claim was a simple mistake. However, it's worth noting that Travis' false claim that Toobin appeared on CNN to talk about Cuomo had more than 10,000 likes compared to the 500+ his correction received.

As of this writing, Toobin has not appeared on CNN to comment on the Cuomo controversy. However, it is possible that he might in the future, as Toobin is still employed by CNN.

This case of mistaken identity was just a blip in the coverage on the Cuomo scandal. While James' report found that Cuomo had violated state laws as he engaged in nonconsensual touching that created a hostile work environment, Cuomo has since denied the charges.

"I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances," Cuomo said. "I am 63 years old. I’ve lived my entire adult life in public view. That is just not who I am."

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.