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CNN suspends Chris Cuomo indefinitely over his role in his brother's defense

Chris Cuomo attends the Turner Upfront 2018 arrivals on the red carpet at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on May 16, 2018 in New York City.
Mike Coppola
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Chris Cuomo attends the Turner Upfront 2018 arrivals on the red carpet at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on May 16, 2018 in New York City.

Updated November 30, 2021 at 8:34 PM ET

CNN says it has suspended anchor Chris Cuomo after new revelations surfaced detailing his efforts to help his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, out of an ongoing sexual harassment scandal.

The suspension of the host of "Cuomo Prime Time" comes a day after the release of thousands of documents from the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James showing that Chris Cuomo used his contacts to dig into the governor's accusers. They also show he consulted with various sources to help the elder Cuomo manage the sexual misconduct scandal that led to his resignation in August.

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

The documents show Cuomo acting as a strategist for his brother

Included in the latest batch of information released are texts and email messages between the CNN host and a number of the governor's top aides and inner circle in which he appears to be acting as a strategist on behalf of the governor. In one instance, he advised they attack the governor's democratic critics — members of the former governor's own party — for taking part in "cancel culture."

Documents also show that Cuomo was trying to leverage his industry contacts to seek out information about forthcoming allegations against the then-governor from other reporters.

The top-rated anchor had previously admitted on air to offering his brother advice, but on Tuesday, CNN said the new revelations, "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," the statement continued.

About a half dozen women have accused the former-governor of making unwanted sexual advances, inappropriate touching and sexual harassment. He now faces criminal charges in New York and potential civil suits.

CNN at first did not discipline Cuomo

CNN declined to discipline the popular news anchor in May, when his involvement first came to light.

At the time, CNN's head of strategic communications, Matt Dornic, told NPR, "Chris has not been involved in CNN's extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo - on air or behind the scenes. 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."

"However," Dornic acknowledged, "it was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor's staff, which Chris acknowledges. He will not participate in such conversations going forward."

The younger Cuomo has repeatedly defended working on behalf of his older brother, saying that family comes first. He has also made the argument that in gathering research and information, he was not intending to disparage other reporters or alleged victims.

NPR's David Folkenflik contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.