The announcement came after an outside law firm was hired to review information on exactly how Cuomo helped his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, when the then-governor been charged with sexual harassment.
CNN suspended Cuomo “indefinitely” on Tuesday. The law firm retained by the network submitted its findings on Friday, according to a source familiar with the matter, and CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker fired Cuomo on Saturday.
Producers and other staff working on “Cuomo Prime Time” will remain in place. Cuomo’s regular replacement Michael Smerconish will host Eastern Time at 9 p.m. next week.
CNN said in a statement, “Chris Cuomo was suspended earlier this week pending further assessment of new information revealed about his involvement in his brother’s defense. We retained a respected law firm to conduct the review and terminated it, effective immediately. “
A CNN spokesperson declined to share more details on the “additional information.”
In a statement on his own Saturday, Chris Cuomo said, “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. So let me now say as disappointing as it is, I couldn’t be more proud of the Cuomo Prime Time crew and the job we did as CNN’s # 1 show in the la more competitive. I owe them all and I will miss this special group of people who have done such an important job.
While the outlines of Chris Cuomo’s involvement with the governor’s office were reported several months ago, details were detailed in a huge dump on Monday. The documents – released by New York Attorney General Letitia James after an inquiry into the governor – showed that Chris Cuomo, while working as one of CNN’s main presenters, was also working effectively as an unpaid assistant to the governor.
The cozy and inappropriate nature of the relationship was conveyed through text messages obtained by James’ office. Texts between the presenter and several of the governor’s aides and allies revealed that Chris Cuomo was looking to use his press connections to help prepare Andrew Cuomo’s team as the accusers began to go public with their stories.
On the day his brother resigned in August, Chris Cuomo told viewers that “this situation is unlike anything I could have imagined.”
He stressed that he had never reported the sexual harassment scandal or attempted to interfere with CNN’s coverage. And he admitted to having “tried to be there for my brother” when the scandal erupted.
“I am not an advisor. I am a brother. I didn’t control anything. I was there to listen and offer my point of view, ”he said.
CNN management has shown its support for Cuomo, and “Cuomo Prime Time,” often the network’s top-rated show, has remained on the air throughout the controversy.
But as “Trusted Sources” reported at the time, some CNN staff were angry with Cuomo and his violations of journalistic standards.
Dissent only escalated after James’ office released text messages, sworn testimony and other raw materials of its investigation into the ex-governor.
When the documents were released on Monday, CNN management said “thousands of pages of additional transcripts and exhibits” would be reviewed “over the next few days.”
Then on Tuesday night, CNN reported that the content was serious enough to warrant suspension.
“When Chris admitted to us that he offered advice to his brother’s staff, he broke our rules and we publicly admitted it,” the network said in a statement. “But we also appreciated the unique position he found himself in and understood his need to put family first and work second. “
“However,” the network said, “these documents indicate a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously thought. As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation. “
Cuomo initially declined to comment. He said on his radio show on Wednesday that the suspension was “embarrassing” but understandable. He also said he never wanted to “compromise any of my colleagues” and said he would respect the process.
According to Saturday’s announcement, the process included an outside law firm, a fact that was not previously known.
With information in the texts and documents indicating a serious violation of CNN standards, Cuomo was informed of his dismissal on Saturday.