Anchor Chris Cuomo has denied an allegation of sexual misconduct after he was fired from CNN.
Cuomo, one of the network's star anchors, was the subject of an investigation, unrelated to the misconduct allegations, by the New York attorney general which concluded that Cuomo had helped his brother, former Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, defend himself against sexual misconduct allegations. However, following Cuomo's termination from CNN, an allegation of sexual misconduct came to light.
Following his termination on Saturday, Cuomo denied the sexual misconduct allegation that had this time been made against him. The allegation was first reported by The New York Times.
"These apparently anonymous allegations are not true. 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," a statement from Cuomo's representative Steven Goldberg reads.
"If the goal in making these false and unvetted accusations was to see Mr. Cuomo punished by CNN, that may explain his unwarranted termination."
The allegations were submitted to CNN on Wednesday by attorney Debra S. Katz, who represents the unnamed accuser. Katz said on Saturday that her client is a former junior colleague of Cuomo and that the situation is unrelated to the former Governor of New York, the Times reported.
The unnamed accuser came forward after hearing Cuomo’s on-air statements in response to the allegations made against his brother, in which Cuomo said he “always cared very deeply about these issues, and profoundly so. I just wanted to tell you that,” according to a statement from Katz.
In that statement obtained by NBC News, Katz said when her client heard "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 that CNN "acted promptly" after hearing the allegations and fired Cuomo.
"My client came forward at this time because she felt in sharing her story and related documentation, she could help protect other women. She will continue to cooperate with CNN’s investigation into her allegations," Katz said.
She added that her client had decided to stay anonymous due to the nature of her allegations.
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment made by NBC News, but in a statement obtained by The Washington Post, the network said it had “retained a respected law firm” and would "investigate as appropriate.”
Although Katz stated that CNN "acted promptly" after the allegations, the network said it already has "cause to terminate" due to Cuomo's conduct with his brother. However, "when new allegations came to us this week, we took them seriously, and saw no reason to delay taking immediate action.” It did not clarify what the specific allegations were, according to the Post.
The Times reported that Katz also represents Charlotte Bennett, a former aide to Andrew Cuomo, who also made accusations of sexual harassment.
In a statement made after his firing, Cuomo said that he was disappointed but "proud of the team at 'Cuomo Prime Time,'" his show on the network.
“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 this is, I could not be more proud of the team at Cuomo Prime Time and the work we did as CNN’s #1 show in the most competitive time slot,” he said.
In a statement made by CNN after Cuomo was terminated, the network said: “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.”
The younger Cuomo, who has hosted “Cuomo Prime Time” since 2017, has previously said that advising his brother was a family matter and that it was appropriate because he was not directly reporting on the situation at the time.
Documents released Monday revealed that Cuomo offered to help the former governor find out how many women were accusing him of sexual harassment.
Andrew Cuomo, who was facing the possibility of impeachment, resigned in August. He has denied any wrongdoing.