CNN indefinitely suspends Chris Cuomo after text messages to brother's top aide were released by New York attorney general
CNN has indefinitely suspended Chris Cuomo over his communications with Andrew Cuomo's team about the sexual misconduct allegations against the former governor, a spokesperson for the network said Tuesday. The suspension comes one day after New York Attorney General Letitia James released a series of text messages between him and Andrew Cuomo's top aide in which he asked to play a larger role in the response.
CNN said the documents "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 Chris Cuomo, who is Andrew Cuomo's younger brother, and Melissa DeRosa, the aide, show him attempting to help tailor his brother's response to the allegations.
Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly denied the allegations, in public and during his own interview with investigators.
"Please let me help with the prep," Chris Cuomo texted DeRosa on March 3, after sending her critical notes on one of the governor's previous press statements.
The messages also show DeRosa asking Chris Cuomo to look into articles from other outlets that had not yet been published.
"Rumor going around from politico 1-2 more ppl coming out tomorrow," DeRosa texted Chris Cuomo on March 7. "Can u check your sources."
Chris Cuomo said he was "On it," later adding, "No one has heard that yet."
DeRosa also asked Cuomo if he had "intel" about an upcoming New Yorker article written by Ronan Farrow. According to a copy of Chris Cuomo's deposition released by James' office on Monday, he told investigators that he had contacted "another journalist" to find out when the story would be published, but said he didn't do anything to influence the story.
Chris Cuomo said he didn't tell anyone at CNN that he had reached out to the journalist, stating that it was "not something that would be out of the ordinary."
Isabelle Kirshner, an attorney who represents Chris Cuomo and attended his deposition, told CBS News on Monday that Chris Cuomo was "honest" with investigators.
"He's never worked on a source for his brother. He's been definitive about that," Kirshner said.
When less detailed reports of Cuomo's involvement in his brother's response first surfaced in May, he apologized on air, calling it a "mistake." He has not yet commented on the suspension.
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