Latest Breaking News & Top Headlines

CNN could face ‘seven-figure’ lawsuits, claimed it was aware of Chris Cuomo sexual misconduct allegations

0

CNN could be on the line for “seven-figure” payments in potential lawsuits unless the network can prove it was unaware of recently surfaced sexual harassment claims against former star anchor Chris Cuomo.

The network fired Cuomo on Saturday, citing the journalist’s role in defending his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, against multiple sexual harassment charges.

Cuomo says CNN President Jeff Zucker was aware of the partnership, which the network called “blatantly bogus.”

Though they didn’t mention it, the network was said to have been made aware days earlier of a sexual harassment allegation against Cuomo by a junior colleague from another network. The nature of the allegation is not yet clear.

California attorney Benjamin Eghbali told Fox News that Cuomo will be held to the same standard as disgraced Miramax founder Harvey Weinstein if people decide to sue CNN over a cover-up.

CNN could get millions of dollars if plaintiffs prove that the network covered up harassment claims against star host Chris Cuomo, who was fired on Saturday

Cuomo was fired after revelations that he helped coordinate media response to allegations of sexual harassment against his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo was fired after revelations that he helped coordinate media response to allegations of sexual harassment against his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“They’re going to try and blame Chris Cuomo completely and say they didn’t know anything,” Eghbali told CNN.

“So it’s the plaintiff’s job to show that there was some kind of knowledge on the part of CNN and they looked the other way…If they can’t prove that charge, they can’t hold CNN responsible.” .’

On Wednesday, prominent attorney Debra S. Katz told CNN about a client with a sexual harassment allegation against Cuomo, according to the New York Times.

The allegation is “unrelated to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s case,” Katz said in a statement.

Chris Cuomo, 64, was also accused of sexually assaulting a female colleague, who was his superior at the time, at a party in 2005.

In an op-ed for the Times in September, producer Shelley Ross wrote that Cuomo walked up to her, hugged her and held on tightly to her bottom while her husband sat behind her.

“I can do this now that you’re not my boss,” he said, according to Ross.

Karen Agnifilo, a lawyer and former chief assistant district attorney in Manhattan, told Fox News that Cuomo will likely use the same defense as his brother.

‘I think [Gov. Cuomo’s] brother should do the Cuomo playbook: “We hugged, we kissed, we’re affectionate. That’s how we were raised,” Agnifilo said, adding that every case should be heard in public court.

Chris Cuomo says CNN president Jeff Zucker, left, was aware of his involvement in his brother's defense, which CNN called

Chris Cuomo says CNN president Jeff Zucker, left, was aware of his involvement in his brother’s defense, which CNN called “obviously false”

“CNN will have to hand over things like emails and personnel files and other discovery-related documents. And then people will have to sit for testimonials and interrogations, and depending on what comes out, that’s going to depend on whether they had knowledge or not,” Agnifilo said.

“All those things come out in a civil suit, or they settle it and it never comes out.”

CNN’s statement only cited Cuomo’s “conduct with his brother’s defense” in his decision to end the anchor.

A Cuomo spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal on Sunday: “Mr. Cuomo has the highest degree of admiration and respect for Mr. Zucker.

“They were known to be extremely close and in regular contact, including the details of Mr. Cuomo’s support for his brother.”

CNN disagreed with their former star’s characterization of events.

“He has made a number of allegations that are manifestly false,” the network said in a statement. “This reinforces the reason why he was fired for violating our standards and practices, as well as his lack of candor.”

Zucker hired Cuomo from ABC News in 2013.  He showed great compassion for Cuomo over the summer as the saga with his brother Andrew unfolded.

Zucker hired Cuomo from ABC News in 2013. He showed great compassion for Cuomo over the summer as the saga with his brother Andrew unfolded.

In an announcement released Saturday afternoon, the network revealed more information had come to light during the internal investigation into the anchor — which is still ongoing.

In an announcement released Saturday afternoon, the network revealed more information had come to light during the internal investigation into the anchor — which is still ongoing.

Earlier this year, Cuomo told CNN viewers and executives that he had indeed assisted his brother’s team, but his involvement had been minimal.

But on Monday, New York Attorney General Letitia James released text messages between Cuomo and his brother’s staff, revealing that he was deeply involved in combating the charges and providing assistance with strategy and communications.

“Chris Cuomo was suspended earlier this week pending further evaluation of new information that has come to light about his involvement in his brother’s defense,” the network said in a statement.

The announcement further revealed that an outside law firm had been engaged by the network to assist in their investigation into how exactly their star anchor was helping his brother, Andrew Cuomo, then New York governor, fight a sexual harassment scandal this year.

“We engaged a respected law firm to conduct the review and have terminated it with immediate effect. Additional information came to light during the process of that assessment. Despite the termination, we will investigate if necessary.”

After collecting a wealth of texts and documents indicating a serious violation of network standards by the journalist, CNN notified Cuomo on Saturday of his termination, the network’s statement said.

Cuomo, 51, acknowledged his resignation the same day and expressed regret for his part in the scandal, but still claimed he was only helping his brother, who had to resign in August to avoid impeachment proceedings over the charges.

“This is not how I want my time at CNN to end,” the veteran TV journalist wrote in a social media post.

“But I’ve already told you why and how I helped my brother.”

Cuomo joined CNN in February 2013 as a field anchor after stints with ABC and Fox News. After rising through the ranks, he was tapped to host Cuomo Prime Time in March 2018.

By some estimates, Cuomo had an annual salary of $6 million.

On Monday, New York Attorney General Letitia James released texts between Cuomo and his brother's staff showing that he was deeply involved in fighting the charges.

On Monday, New York Attorney General Letitia James released texts between Cuomo and his brother’s staff showing that he was deeply involved in fighting the charges.

His 9 p.m. show, Cuomo Prime Time, was CNN’s highest-rated broadcast. It averaged 774,000 viewers in November, when it ranked number 25 on all cable TV news programs — just behind Anderson Cooper’s show.

However, the network saw a 19 percent increase after Cuomo was suspended Tuesday and Cooper took his place. The network has not specified who his permanent replacement will be.

Zucker, 56, hired Cuomo from ABC News in 2013 as one of his first moves when he took over CNN, and showed a lot of compassion for Cuomo over the summer as the saga unfolded.

Zucker had promoted Cuomo to prime time in 2018, given him the prized 9:00 p.m. hour, and pitted him against the influential Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and Sean Hannity on Fox News.

Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned in August after the state's attorney general released a report detailing the sexual harassment allegations against 11 different women.

Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned in August after the state’s attorney general released a report detailing the sexual harassment allegations against 11 different women.

In 2019, Zucker was full of praise for his star, telling The Hollywood Reporter that Cuomo was “the perfect news anchor for cable.”

When The Washington Post reported in May that the news anchor had advised his brother on strategy in violation of journalistic protocol, Zucker defended him, saying he was in a unique and very difficult position.

“Chris has not been involved in CNN’s extensive coverage of the charges against Governor Cuomo — on the air or behind the scenes,” the network said in a statement.

“In part because, as he has said on his show, he could never be objective. But also because he often acts as a sounding board for his brother.

“However, it was inappropriate to engage in conversations with members of the governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges.

“He will not participate in such conversations in the future.”

The network said Cuomo would not be disciplined at the time.

Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned as governor in August after AG James released a report accusing 11 different women of sexual harassment.

.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.