CNN fired anchor Chris Cuomo on Saturday in the wake of revelations he secretly aided the defense of his embattled older brother, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo — and the ousted host now faces a sexual misconduct allegation of his own.
“This is not how I want my time at CNN to end,” Chris Cuomo said in a statement after his firing but hours before news surfaced of the allegation against him.
“But I have already told you why and how I helped my brother,” he continued.
CNN confirmed the firing and said that Cuomo had been “terminated … effective immediately” as an outside law firm continues to investigate “his involvement with his brother’s defense.”
The station was notified by an attorney representing an accuser of a sexual misconduct allegation against Chris Cuomo not related to his role in his brother’s scandal, The New York Times reported. Attorney Debra Katz had reached out to CNN Wednesday, according to the Times.
Katz also represents ex-Gov. Cuomo’s former aide Charlotte Bennett, who accused her one-time boss of sexual harassment.
It wasn’t clear if CNN’s decision to can Chris Cuomo had anything to do with the allegation made against him. CNN had said prior to the report on the allegation late Saturday that its probe uncovered new information, though it didn’t specify the nature of that data.
“While in the process of that review, additional information has come to light,” the network said. “Despite the termination, we will investigate as appropriate.”
The “Cuomo Prime Time” star was suspended Tuesday when documents released by state Attorney General Letitia James showed that Chris Cuomo used his press connections to help his brother’s staff pry into the past of a woman who accused him of inappropriately touching her – and then participated in strategy sessions aimed at helping the governor beat the sexual harassment scandal that eventually forced him to resign.
Dozens of text messages showed Chris Cuomo and Melissa DeRosa, then Andrew Cuomo’s top aide, discussing how to respond to the mounting allegations and his brother’s accusers.
He tried to find dirt on at least one accuser, Anna Ruch, after she told The New York Times that Andrew Cuomo made inappropriate advances during a wedding reception at which she was photographed cringing as he held both sides of her face while looming over her.
“I have a lead on the wedding girl,” Chris Cuomo texted DeRosa on March 4, two days after the Times report.
On March 1, the documents show, the younger Cuomo critiqued a statement his brother issued a day earlier and sent DeRosa what he thought should have been the response to harassment allegations by former aide Charlotte Bennett.
The revelations came after months of the anchor’s public claims that all he did was “listen” and “offer my take” regarding his brother’s political troubles.
“I never reported on the scandal,” he said during the Aug. 16 edition of his 9 p.m. weeknight show, as he claimed that network rules prohibited him from covering his brother’s scandalous Aug. 10 resignation.
“And when it happened, I tried to be there for my brother,” he insisted. “I’m not an adviser, I’m a brother. I wasn’t in control of anything. I was there to listen, offer my take.”
But in fact, as James’s Aug. 3 sexual harassment report on Andrew Cuomo revealed, Chris Cuomo received “confidential and often privileged information about state operations” as the scandal unfolded – a detail that sparked outrage among some CNN employees.
One colleague told BuzzFeed it was a “disgrace to journalism” that Chris Cuomo “wasn’t fired over his inappropriate conflict of interest.”
CNN employees told The Post this week that the network needed to finally fire the anchor.
“How does he still have a job at the network?” one staffer said. “He’s not a journalist.”
Cuomo’s “indefinite” suspension was said to be “pending further evaluation” of thousands of pages of records from James’ probe of the governor.
In September, former ABC executive producer Shelley Ross accused Chris Cuomo of sexually harassing her at a 2005 work party.
Ross claimed that Cuomo grabbed her butt at an Upper West Side bar in front of her husband and co-workers — and later called it a “hearty greeting.”
“It is always disturbing to watch someone’s fall from grace,” Ross wrote on her Facebook page Saturday.
“Many people lost very important jobs in the wake of the sexual harassment scandals surrounding Gov. Cuomo,” she continued. “I am glad that CNN will fall on the right side of history. Those who harass women, strategize to silence or smear those who come forward must be held accountable.”
Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean, a fierce Cuomo critic who blasted the governor for sending COVID-positive patients into nursing homes, tweeted her relief at Saturday’s news.
“So glad we will never see this again,” Dean posted over an infamous image of the two brothers clowning around with a giant nasal testing swab as they joked in a “Cuomo Prime Time” segment on the devastating pandemic.
Cuomo, 51, told listeners of his Sirius XM show last year that he’d renewed his CNN contract, which is worth $6 million a year, according to the Celebrity Net Worth website.