CNN fires Chris Cuomo
Chris Cuomo has been fired from CNN for his role in helping his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, craft his defense during a sexual harassment scandal, the network announced Saturday. Cuomo was suspended by the network on Wednesday after the New York attorney general released text messages he sent to one of his brother's top aides.
"Chris Cuomo was suspended earlier this week pending further evaluation of new information that came to light about his involvement with his brother's defense," CNN wrote. "We retained a respected law firm to conduct the review, and have terminated him, effective immediately. While in the process of that review, additional information has come to light. Despite the termination, we will investigate as appropriate."
CNN did not elaborate on the "new information that came to light," however, The Associated Press reports that Cuomo was accused of sexual harassment last week. Attorney Debra Katz said she informed the network on Wednesday that her client was the victim of sexual misconduct directed at her by Cuomo, according to AP.
CNN on Sunday released an additional statement, saying, "Based on the report we received regarding Chris's conduct with his brother's defense, we had cause to terminate. When new allegations came to us this week, we took them seriously, and saw no reason to delay taking immediate action."
The former "Cuomo Prime Time" anchor issued a statement shortly after his termination was announced Saturday night.
"This is not how I want my time at CNN to end but I have already told you why and how I helped my brother," he tweeted. "So let me now say as disappointing as this is, I could not be more proud of the team at Cuomo Prime Time and the work we did as CNN's #1 show in the most competitive time slot. I owe them all and will miss that group of special people who did really important work."
At the time of his suspension, CNN said the documents from New York Attorney General Letitia James "shed new light on Chris Cuomo's involvement in his brother's defense" and "raise serious questions."
"When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother's staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly. But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second," the statement said. "However, these documents point to a greater level of involvement in his brother's efforts than we previously knew. As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation."
The text messages between Cuomo, who is Andrew Cuomo's younger brother, and Melissa DeRosa, the aide, show him attempting to help tailor his brother's response to sexual harassment allegations.
Cuomo said he didn't tell anyone at CNN that he had reached out to another journalist about their reporting on his brother, stating that it was "not something that would be out of the ordinary."
Isabelle Kirshner, an attorney who represents Cuomo and attended his deposition, told CBS News on Monday that the former CNN host was "honest" with investigators.
"He's never worked on a source for his brother. He's been definitive about that," Kirshner said.
Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly denied the sexual harassment allegations against him, both in public and during his own interview with investigators. However, he decided to resign as governor in August.
Victoria Albert and Graham Kates contributed reporting.
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