CNN has suspended anchor Chris Cuomo indefinitely amid “serious concerns” over help he gave to his brother, the former governor of New York.
The network said it had taken the decision to take the 51-year-old evening anchor from the air after the release of new documents, that suggested he had a much more central role that previously known in helping defend his brother, ex-New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, against allegations of sexual misconduct.
Andrew Cuomo resigned as governor this summer, after an investigation carried out by prosecutors, found he had sexually harassed at least 11 women.
During the period that the governor was seeking to rebut the accusations, and then stand down under pressure, Chris Cuomo made a point of not covering the story himself.
In May, he was obliged to apologise after it was revealed he had offered advice to his older brother on how best to respond to the accusations, that at the time the then governor was denying.
“Chris has not been involved in CNN’s extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo — on air or behind the scenes,” the network said in a statement.
“In part because, as he has said on his show, he could never be objective. But also because he often serves as a sounding board for his brother.”
It added: “However, it was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges.”
However on Monday, CNN said it had started looking at new information, released Monday by the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, which provided fresh light on the level of involvement of the anchor in helping to shape his brother’s defence.
The documents included text messages between Chris Cuomo and Melissa DeRosa, a former top aide to his brother.
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They also indicated Chris Cuomo tried to use his connections in the media to help prepare his brother’s team, as accusers started to make their stories public.
“Can you check your sources,” Ms DeRosa asked in one such text message on March 7.
Mr Cuomo replied: “On it.”