CNN suspends Chris Cuomo over helping brother during scandal

New York: CNN is suspending prime time anchor Chris Cuomo “indefinitely, pending further evaluation,” after new documents revealed the cozy and improper nature of his relationship with aides to his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

A second hour of “Anderson Cooper 360” is airing in Cuomo’s place.

Tuesday’s announcement about the suspension was the equivalent of a cable news shockwave. Cuomo’s 9 p.m. program is frequently CNN’s most-watched hour of the day. He is a larger-than-life presence at the network. And he was determined to stay on TV this year despite a flurry of sexual misconduct allegations against his brother, which culminated in the governor’s resignation three months ago.

But new documents released on Monday showed that the veteran journalist was more intimately involved than previously known in shaping his brother’s defense.

“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,” a CNN spokesperson said Tuesday evening. “The documents, which we were not privy to before their public release, 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,” the spokesperson continued.

“However, these documents point to a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew,” the spokesperson added.

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. Charlotte Bennett, a former aide to Andrew Cuomo who came forward in February to accuse him of sexual harassment, called for CNN to “immediately take action.”

“Anything short of firing Chris Cuomo reflects a network lacking both morals and a backbone,” Bennett said in a tweet Tuesday.

The cache of documents released included text messages between Chris Cuomo and Melissa DeRosa, a then-top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, that suggested he was instrumental in working to craft a defense against a flood of sexual misconduct allegations.

The text messages also revealed that Chris Cuomo sought to use his connections in the press to help prepare the then-governor’s team as accusers started to make their stories public.

Image courtesy of Photo courtesy AP

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