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CNN fires Cuomo for defence of brother’s sexual misconduct

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Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren sits next to CNN presenter Chris Cuomo as she is interviewed in the spin room after the sixth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season on December 19, 2019. AFP

CNN fires Cuomo for defence of brother’s sexual misconduct

CNN fired veteran anchor and correspondent Chris Cuomo, the cable news channel said on December 4, amid an investigation into his involvement with helping defend brother Andrew Cuomo, the former New York state governor, against sexual misconduct allegations.

Chris Cuomo had been suspended from CNN over the matter just days before his termination.

“We retained a respected law firm to conduct the review, and have terminated him, effective immediately,” a statement posted to CNN’s official communications Twitter account said.

“While in the process of that review, additional information has come to light.”

The termination comes after documents surfaced showing that Cuomo, who anchored the 9pm news slot, offered advice to his politician brother that was deemed too close for comfort by his employer.

“The documents, which we were not privy to before their public release, raise serious questions,” a CNN spokesperson said on November 30, adding that they “point to a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew”.

CNN on December 4 found itself in the awkward position of reporting on the firing of one of its own anchors.

“This is not how I want my time at CNN to end but I have already told you why and how I helped my brother,” Cuomo, 51, said in a text message statement read out on the air by CNN media reporter Brian Stelter.

“So let me now say as disappointing as this is, I could not be more proud of the team at Cuomo Prime Time,” Cuomo added. “I owe them all and will miss that group of special people who did really important work.”

Cuomo has spoken candidly of his strong bond with his older sibling.

“He’s my brother. And if I can help my brother, I do. If he wants me to hear something, I will. If he wants me to weigh in on something, I’ll try,” he told investigators in July when asked about the counsel he had offered.

“He’s my brother, and I love him to death no matter what.”

Democrat Andrew Cuomo was elected governor three times before resigning in August after New York state attorney general said an investigation concluded he had sexually harassed at least 11 women.

In October, the former governor – whose father Mario Cuomo had also been governor of New York – was charged with a misdemeanour sex crime for forcible touching.

At the start of the pandemic, the Cuomo brothers soared to new heights of popularity: Andrew, 63, earned praise for his frank daily briefings as the coronavirus ravaged New York, and his live exchanges with Chris on CNN were peppered with banter.

The investigation into Chris Cuomo’s conduct remains ongoing, CNN said.

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