Disgraced CNN anchor Chris Cuomo had a sexual misconduct allegation against him, which reportedly may have contributed to his firing, according to an attorney for his accuser.
In a statement on Sunday, just one day after news broke of Cuomo’s firing from the network, attorney Debra Katz, who also represented one of Andrew Cuomo’s accusers, said that her unnamed client came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Cuomo after he made comments on-air positioning himself as an ally of women.
“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,” Katz said in a statement.
Katz said her client reported the allegations to CNN and offered to provide “documentary evidence.”
“My client came forward at this time because she felt in sharing her story and related documentation, she could help protect other women,” Katz said.
The allegations against Cuomo were made by a junior colleague from another network who did not work for CNN, according to the New York Times. CNN did not specify the extent to which the allegations contributed to his firing.
“Based on the report we received regarding Chris’s conduct with his brother’s defense, we had cause to terminate. When new allegations came to us this week, we took them seriously, and saw no reason to delay taking immediate action,” a spokesperson said on Saturday.
Steven Goldberg, a spokesperson for Chris Cuomo, denied the allegations.
“To the extent that they were sent to CNN to negate what Chris Cuomo told his audience, he fully stands by his on-air statements about his connection to these issues, both professionally and in a profoundly personal way,” said Goldberg. “If the goal in making these false and unvetted accusations was to see Mr. Cuomo punished by CNN, that may explain his unwarranted termination.”
Earlier last week, CNN suspended Chris Cuomo indefinitely after unearthed text messages revealed that he used his media sources to discredit his brother Andrew’s accusers, raising “serious concerns” about his ethical conduct. When Andrew Cuomo resigned as governor of New York earlier this year, Chris Cuomo initially told CNN that he only aided the disgraced politician as a fellow brother, not as an actual adviser:
When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother’s staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly. But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second.
However, these documents point to a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew. As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation.
Several days later, CNN announced that it fired Chris Cuomo after “additional information” came to light about his conduct:
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. While in the process of that review, additional information has come to light. Despite the termination, we will investigate as appropriate.
In September Chris Cuomo was accused by a former boss, Shelley Ross, of groping her at a party in 2005.
“I was at the party with my husband, who sat behind me on an ottoman sipping his Diet Coke as I spoke with work friends. When Mr. Cuomo entered the Upper West Side bar, he walked toward me and greeted me with a strong bear hug while lowering one hand to firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock,” she claimed.
Ross described Cuomo as saying, “I can do this now that you’re no longer my boss.”
Ross reportedly told Cuomo “No you can’t” and pushed him off. Her husband allegedly saw the whole episode and they both “quickly left.”