CNN’s top rated anchor Chris Cuomo has been suspended “indefinitely” Monday after New York Attorney General Letitia James released thousands of pages of evidence revealing that his efforts to help his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, amid a storm of sexual misconduct allegations was far more involved than previously known.
“The New York Attorney General’s office released transcripts and exhibits Monday that shed new light on Chris Cuomo’s involvement in his brother’s defense,” CNN said in a statement Tuesday evening. “The documents, which we were not privy to before their public release, raise serious questions. When Chris admitted to us 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.”
“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 network continued.
CNN Business reported Tuesday night: “The suspension came after significant criticism from people who noted that Chris Cuomo had violated widely accepted journalistic norms. Inside CNN, staffers expressed dismay about the anchor’s conduct.”
One of Andrew Cuomo’s accusers, former aide Charlotte Bennett, called for CNN to “immediately take action” in a statement shared on Twitter, with Bennett tweeting, “Anything short of firing Chris Cuomo reflects a network lacking both morals and a backbone.”
Cuomo was interviewed by investigators and the transcripts show that despite telling his viewers in August that he “never made calls to the press about my brother’s situation,” the CNN anchor admitted that he would reach out to media sources to find out about new accusers who have yet to come forward publicly, Fox News reported.
“When asked, I would reach out to sources, other journalists, to see if they had heard of anybody else coming out,” Cuomo told investigators.
Three days after the story broke about the governor allegedly sexually harassing Anna Ruch at a 2019 wedding reception, the younger Cuomo texted his brother’s aide Melissa DeRosa, “I have a lead on the wedding girl.”
He was also asked by DeRosa in a text to “check your sources” over a rumor that one or two more women would be coming forward the following day, and Cuomo replied “on it,” later texting, “No one has heard that yet.”
In August, Cuomo said on air: “I never misled anyone about the information I was delivering or not delivering on this program. I never attacked nor encouraged anyone to attack any woman who came forward. I never made calls to the press about my brother’s situation. I never influenced or attempted to control CNN’s coverage of my family. And as you know, back in May when I was told to no longer communicate with my brother’s aides in any group meetings, I acknowledged it was a mistake, I apologized to my colleagues, I stopped, and I meant it.”
This was after he apologized in May, when it was first learned that he was advising his brother on the sexual misconduct allegations against him. At the time, CNN President Jeff Zucker said Cuomo “made a mistake” but declined to suspend him.
In what proved to be an awkward moment, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who did an addition hour of his own show to fill Cuomo’s timeslot, addressed the suspension.
“Some news about this network,” he told viewers. “It involves Chris Cuomo, the host of ‘Cuomo Prime Time.’ New documents released this week indicated that Chris was more intimately involved than previously known in helping his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo craft a defense amid a flurry of sexual misconduct allegations.”
Ahead of taking over Chris Cuomo’s timeslot with a second hour of AC360, Anderson reads the statement from CNN on Cuomo’s indefinite suspension. pic.twitter.com/e7mRsWyJVP
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) December 1, 2021
Top-rated Fox News host Tucker Carlson said Cuomo “has been pulled off the air likely for good.”
“You’ll probably never see him on camera again [at CNN]. For us here at Fox, it feels like the end of something,” Carlson added.
Of the many reactions to the news, leading the way was former President Donald Trump, a frequent target of Cuomo’s when he was in office.
Referring to Cuomo as “Fredo,” a play on a heckler calling the anchor that during a 2019 confrontation, Trump said in a statement: “Great news for television viewers, they have just suspended Chris Cuomo indefinitely! The big question is, was it because of his horrendous ratings, which in all fairness have permeated CNN and MSDNC, or was it because his brother is no longer Governor? Probably both. In any event, Fredo is gone!”
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