CNN suspends Chris Cuomo for helping brother in scandal
NEW YORK — CNN said Tuesday it was suspending anchor Chris Cuomo indefinitely after details emerged about how he helped his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as he faced charges of sexual harassment.
The network said documents released by New York's attorney general Monday indicated a greater level in his brother's efforts than the network previously knew.
“As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation,” the network said.
“Cuomo Prime Time” is often CNN’s most-watched show of the day, airing at 9 p.m. Eastern time on weeknights.
The CNN anchor had pressed sources for information on his brother's accusers and reported back to the governor's staff, and was active helping craft their response to the charges, according to emails and a transcript of his testimony to investigators working for New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Chris Cuomo had previously acknowledged talking to his brother and offering advice when the governor faced the harassment charges that led to his resignation. But the information released Nov. 29 revealed far more details about what he did.
Andrew Cuomo resigned in August to avoid a likely impeachment trial, after an investigation led by James found he sexually harassed at least 11 women.
The anchor did his show Monday night without mentioning the topic. In the past, he’s said he’s never reported on his brother’s situation for the network and never tried to influence coverage. On-air in August, he said: “I tried to do the right thing,” adding he “wasn’t in control of anything.”
Cuomo interviewed his brother on the air a number of times during the first two months of the COVID-19 epidemic. It was a hit with viewers, although it violated CNN's policy of not having Cuomo report on his brother, and was a programming choice that has grown worse with time and additional revelations.
Monday’s releases show Chris Cuomo growing frustrated with his brother’s advisers as they scrambled to respond as more women came forward with harassment allegations.
The anchor pressed for greater involvement in crafting his brother’s message and offered up his journalistic sleuthing to find out what other allegations might be looming.
On March 4, Chris Cuomo texted the governor’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, saying “I have a lead on the wedding girl,” referring to a woman who accused his brother of unwanted touching at a wedding reception.
On March 7, as rumors swirled that more women were about to come forward, DeRosa texted Chris Cuomo: “Can u check your sources.” He replied, “On it.”
“When asked, I would reach out to sources, other journalists, to see if they had heard of anybody else coming out,” Chris Cuomo said in the July deposition.
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