CNN's Chris Cuomo suspended over help to governor brother

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Andrew (left) and Chris Cuomo seen at a film premiere in 2018Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Andrew (left) and Chris Cuomo at a film premiere in 2018

CNN star Chris Cuomo has been suspended indefinitely over help he gave his ex-New York governor brother while he was battling sex abuse allegations.

The decision came after the New York attorney general released new documents that showed the extent of his work for his older sibling, Andrew Cuomo.

CNN said the documents show "a greater level of involvement in his brother's efforts than we previously knew".

Andrew Cuomo resigned in August after prosecutors said he harassed staff.

Chris Cuomo's behind-the-scenes efforts to help his politician brother were widely considered a breach of journalistic ethics in the media industry.

The thousands of pages release by Attorney General Letitia James on Monday show that the younger Cuomo continuously pressed the governor's staff to let him play a larger role in his brother's defence.

"You need to trust me," he texted Melissa DeRosa, the governor's secretary, in March. "We are making mistakes we can't afford," he added.

Last year CNN briefly suspended its rule barring Cuomo from covering his brother as New York became the global epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic. The host began interviewing his brother on air and praising his leadership as governor.

The network had previously defended Cuomo, who joined the channel in 2013, amid the controversy surrounding his efforts to help his powerful brother.

But CNN said in a statement on Tuesday: "The documents, which we were not privy to before their public release, raise serious questions.

"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."

Media caption,

Brittany Commisso tells CBS This Morning: "He groped me, he touched me"

Scores of emails and text messages show the involvement the TV anchor had with the governor's staff.

"Please let me help with the prep," he texted a senior aide. He also pledged to contact other US media outlets in order to try to learn of other allegations that were forthcoming.

At one point, Ms DeRosa asked him to help by checking his "sources".

"On it," the primetime host responded.

A state investigation in March concluded that Andrew Cuomo, whose father was also a Democratic New York governor, sexually harassed and groped 11 women working for him.

Once lavished with praise by US media for his daily Covid briefings in 2020, Mr Cuomo found himself facing pressure to resign from members of his own party, including President Joe Biden.

The younger Cuomo apologised in May this year for his discussions with his brother's team, and maintained he was a staunch defender of sexual abuse victims.

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