Former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo claimed that CNN President Jeff Zucker knew about his involvement in covering up his brother’s sexual assault accusations.
CNN fired Cuomo on Saturday after the New York Attorney General’s office released transcripts about his involvement in covering up sexual assault allegations against his brother, former Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The transcripts outlined the former anchor’s contact with other media connections to obtain information on the accusers and assist in his brother’s public response.
A spokesman for Cuomo told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that Zucker had knowledge of his former employee working as an aide to his brother.
“Mr. Cuomo has the highest level of admiration and respect for Mr. Zucker. They were widely known to be extremely close and in regular contact, including about the details of Mr. Cuomo’s support for his brother,” the spokesperson said. “There were no secrets about this, as other individuals besides Mr. Cuomo can attest.”
CNN President Jeff Zucker protected Chris Cuomo. Then came a u-turn. https://t.co/fbZIYbIbbM
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) December 6, 2021
The network fired back against the claims in a written statement, calling Zucker’s alleged knowledge “patently false,” the WSJ reported. (RELATED: ‘Big Problem For CNN’: Daily Caller’s Vince Coglianese Breaks Down Cuomo Suspension On Tucker)
“He has made a number of accusations that are patently false,” CNN said. “This reinforces why he was terminated for violating our standards and practices, as well as his lack of candor.”
Zucker previously defended the “Cuomo Prime Time” host at a virtual town hall in May, saying that Cuomo had “made a mistake” and that it was not surprising that he had tried to help his brother, according to WSJ. He also pushed back against any form of suspension, saying it would be “punishment for the sake of punishing.”
In August, New York Attorney General Letitia James released a report confirming Cuomo’s aid in his brother’s public response to the scandal.
James’ office revealed that Cuomo texted the former governor’s top adviser, Melissa DeRosa, to say that he “had a lead on the wedding girl” in a Nov. 29 report, according to WSJ. The text responded to The New York Times’ report on the former governor allegedly touching a woman inappropriately at a wedding.
The office’s report included an interview of Cuomo admitting to investigators that he had been contacting other journalists to learn of any upcoming allegations from accusers, according to WSJ.
“When asked, I would reach out to sources, other journalists, to see if they had heard of anybody else coming out,” Cuomo said.
Former ABC News producer Shelley Ross accused Cuomo of sexual harassment when he was an employed at the network back in 2005. The accuser’s lawyer, Debra Katz, called Cuomo’s segment on sexual harassment “hypocrisy” in a statement.
“Hearing the hypocrisy of Chris Cuomo’s on-air words and disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women, my client retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN.”
Cuomo denied that the contact was sexual harassment, according to the New York Post. CNN said they will investigate the allegations “as appropriate.”