Star CNN host Chris Cuomo was suspended indefinitely from the network on Tuesday in the wake of new details about his efforts to help his brother, Andrew M. Cuomo, the former New York governor, amid a cascade of accusations. of sexual harassment that led to the governor’s resignation.
Chris Cuomo had previously apologized for advising Andrew Cuomo’s senior political aides — a breach of traditional barriers between journalists and lawmakers — but thousands of pages of new evidence released Monday by New York Attorney General Letitia James, revealed that the anchor’s role had been more intimate and involved than previously known.
“The documents, which we were not aware of before being made public, raise serious questions,” CNN said in a statement on Tuesday.
“When Chris admitted to giving advice to his brother’s staff, he broke our rules and we publicly acknowledged that,” the network said. “But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put his family first and his job second. However, these documents indicate a greater involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew.”
“As a result, we have indefinitely suspended Chris pending further evaluation,” the network said.
In dozens of emails and text messages between the television host and his brother’s inner circle, Chris Cuomo repeatedly offered advice – “Please let me help with the preparation,” he texted a senior assistant in March – and did. attempts to review the status of pending articles on other news outlets, including Politico and The New Yorker, related to allegations of sexual harassment by Andrew Cuomo.
At one point, Andrew Cuomo’s former top aide, Melissa DeRosa, asked the anchor if he could check his “sources” about a rumor that Politico was working on a story that contained additional accusations. “On it,” Chris Cuomo replied.
Chris Cuomo’s entanglement with his brother’s last 18 months of governorship has turned out to be a slow headache for CNN, which had been its top-rated anchor, even as a drop of inconvenient revelations raised questions about the network’s adherence to journalistic standards.
Jeff Zucker, CNNs president, supported Mr Cuomo for months, refusing to discipline him even after reports showed the presenter had consulted with his brother’s political team in strategy sessions, a violation of the journalists’ basic behavior.
But this week, Mr. Zucker presented a tougher set of facts as he pondered his host’s fate at 9 p.m.
Ms. James’s report included a text message from Mr. Cuomo to Ms. DeRosa, a few days after a woman, Anna Ruch, told The New York Times that Andrew Cuomo had made an unwanted march toward her at a wedding in New York City. “I have a trail of the bridesmaid,” the anchor wrote in the caption.
Chris Cuomo later told investigators he had heard from a friend that “she might have dared it,” referring to Ms. Ruch’s claim. He said Andrew Cuomo’s aides rejected him from that idea and that he set aside his friend’s claim. “So that’s that,” he said.
Tiffany Hsu reporting contributed.
This is a story in development. Come back for updates.