January 19, 2022

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CNN terminates anchor Chris Cuomo after aiding brother Andrew amid sexual harassment allegations – USA TODAY

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CNN is firing Chris Cuomo several days after suspending the anchor for intimately helping his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, wade through sexual harassment scandals. 

The cable news network tweeted about his termination Saturday saying his firing is  “effective immediately.” 

“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,” the statement read. “We retained a respected law firm to conduct the review and have terminated him.” 

Cuomo responded to his termination on Twitter calling the decision “disappointing.” 

“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 wrote. “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.” 

He added: “I owe them all and will miss that group of special people who did really important work.” 

According to dozens of transcripts, video interviews and text messages released Monday by the New York Attorney General’s Office, Chris Cuomo used his media “sources” and “other journalists” to look into the women who accused his brother, who then was the governor of New York, of sexual harassment. 

CNN hired a law firm for that review, which it would not identify. The lawyers recommended Chris Cuomo’s termination and CNN chief Jeff Zucker informed the anchor of the decision on Saturday.

“It goes without saying that these decisions are not easy, and there are a lot of complex factors involved,” Zucker said in an email to CNN staff on Saturday.

CNN has terminated Chris Cuomo "effective immediately" after evidence shows he helped his brother amid his sexual harassment allegations.

Even with the firing, CNN said it will continue to investigate Cuomo’s conduct “as appropriate.”

Attorney Debra Katz said in a statement Sunday that she contacted CNN on Wednesday regarding her client’s allegations of sexual misconduct against Cuomo. Two days later, she said she “was in discussions with CNN about providing documentary evidence of my client’s allegations and making my client available for an interview with CNN’s outside counsel.” 

CNN announced Cuomo’s dismissal the next day. 

“My client came forward at this time because she felt in sharing her story and related documentation, she could help protect other women,” said Katz, who also represents Andrew Cuomo accuser Charlotte Bennett. “She will continue to cooperate with CNN’s investigation into her allegations.”

The client wishes to remain anonymous, Katz noted. Details of her allegations of “serious sexual misconduct” were not immediately available, and it is not clear what role the allegations played in Cuomo’s firing. 

Cuomo’s spokesman Steven Goldberg told The New York Times and The Washington Post on Saturday that the allegations were not true. USA TODAY has reached out to representatives for CNN and Cuomo for further comment. 

A veteran TV executive, Shelley Ross, wrote a column for The New York Times in September saying Chris Cuomo had groped her at a party 16 years ago, when they both worked for ABC News. Cuomo told the newspaper that “I apologized to her then, and I meant it.”

More:CNN’s Chris Cuomo used his media sources to get intel on brother Andrew’s accusers

CNN suspended the anchor Tuesday “indefinitely” after discovering the records released by the attorney general’s office. Cuomo addressed his suspension during his Sirius XM radio show Wednesday calling the disciplinary action weighed against him “embarrassing.” 

“It hurts to even say it. It’s embarrassing. But I understand it. And I understand why some people feel the way they do about what I did. I’ve apologized in the past, and I mean it,” Cuomo said on his SiriusXM radio show. “It’s the last thing I ever wanted to do was compromise any of my colleagues and do anything but help.” 

While Chris Cuomo admitted on air in May that he helped his brother and said it was a mistake, the records Monday showed a larger role that previously revealed, such as texting with the governor’s top aides and advisers and trying to talk to other journalists about looming articles.

“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,” CNN’s statement on his suspension said.

More:Chris Cuomo says CNN suspension for aiding brother Andrew during scandal is ’embarrassing’

The “Cuomo Prime Time” anchor had been with the news network for eight years, first getting his start with CNN’s “New Day with Alisyn Camerota” in 2013. Since then he gained his own prime time program at the 9 p.m. ET slot becoming the network’s top-rated anchor. 

Contributing: Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY; Joseph Spector, New York State Team; and the Associated Press

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