Former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo attempted to divert a sexual assault accusation by offering favorable coverage of the accuser’s employer, The New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing a letter sent to the news network shortly before he was fired.
Attorney Debra Katz, representing a woman who had worked with Cuomo years earlier at ABC News, described the situation as an “abuse of power at CNN to attempt to silence my client” amid the #MeToo movement.
The accuser, who has not been publicly named, “suspected he was concerned about her coming forward publicly with her allegations and wanted to use the proposed segment as an opportunity to ‘test the waters’ and discourage her from going on the record about his sexual misconduct,” Katz wrote to CNN, according to the Times.
Cuomo was fired less than a day after the letter arrived at the network, according to the Times’ report.
The woman worked at a public relations firm when Cuomo offered to do a segment on the company, according to the Times.
Cuomo was fired Dec. 4 amid an investigation into his involvement into advising his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. He had been suspended a week earlier and the network conducted an investigation.
Documents released by the office of the New York Attorney Genera revealed that Cuomo went to greater lengths than he previously disclosed while advising his brother. The documents, which were from an investigation of the sexual harassment accusations that forced the governor to resign, showed that the host used his contacts as a journalist to attempt to learn information about the accusers.
Also on Tuesday, Allison Gollust resigned after a WarnerMedia investigation found she had violated company policy including news standards and practices.