Chris Cuomo, who was fired by CNN on Saturday following an investigation into the extent of his aid to his brother Andrew, is now facing a new accusation of sexual misconduct himself.
Debra Katz, an attorney representing Andrew Cuomo accuser Charlotte Bennett, told the New York Times that she had contacted CNN on Wednesday about another client with an accusation of misconduct by Chris Cuomo. Katz did not detail the accusations by the woman, described as a “junior colleague” at another network, but said they were “unrelated to the Gov. Andrew Cuomo matter.”
A CNN rep acknowledged that the new accusation might have played a role in the network’s decision to expedite Cuomo’s ouster. “Based on the report we received regarding Chris’s conduct with his brother’s defense, we had cause to terminate,” a rep said. “When new allegations came to us this week, we took them seriously, and saw no reason to delay taking immediate action.”
A rep for Chris Cuomo did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But Steven Goldberg, a spokesman for Chris Cuomo, denied the claims. “These apparently anonymous allegations are not true,” Goldberg told the Times, adding that Cuomo “fully stands by his on-air statements about his connection to these issues, both professionally and in a profoundly personal way. If the goal in making these false and unvetted accusations was to see Mr. Cuomo punished by CNN, that may explain his unwarranted termination.”
In his own statement on Saturday acknowledging his firing, Cuomo initially did not address the new accusation by Katz’s client. “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,” Chris Cuomo said. “So let me now say as disappointing as this is, I could not be more proud of the team at ‘Cuomo Prime Time’ and the work we did as CNN’s #1 show in the most competitive time slot. I owe them all and will miss that group of special people who did really important work.”
This is not the first time that Chris Cuomo has faced an accusation of sexual misconduct.
In September, Shelley Ross — who was a top producer at ABC News in the 2000s when Cuomo was employed by the network — accused the anchor of inappropriately touching her at a 2005 office holiday party. Cuomo admitted the encounter, repeated an apology to Ross but insisted the incident “was not sexual in nature.”
On Saturday, CNN announced that it had terminated Chris Cuomo “effectively immediately” following an independent investigation into the extent of his role in advising brother Andrew Cuomo about the then-New York Governor’s own sexual harassment scandal that led to his resignation last summer.
“Chris Cuomo was suspended earlier this week pending further evaluation of new information that came to light about his involvement with his brother’s defense. We retained a respected law firm to conduct the review, and have terminated him, effective immediately,” the network said in a statement early on Saturday. “While in the process of that review, additional information has come to light. Despite the termination, we will investigate as appropriate.”