Lawyer says she filed allegations of misconduct with CNN against Chris Cuomo

Lawyer Debra Katz says she filed the complaint Wednesday, days before Cuomo was terminated. Cuomo spokesman denies the allegation, calls his termination 'unwarranted.'
Chris Cuomo
Former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo.
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

A lawyer says she alerted CNN to a client's allegation of sexual misconduct against Chris Cuomo days before the star anchor was terminated.

Attorney Debra Katz told the New York Times the allegation was filed last Wednesday by a former junior colleague at a different news network and was unrelated to the allegations against disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his younger brother's assistance.

Katz, who also represents one of the female accusers against ex-Gov. Cuomo, said her client came forward against the younger brother "because she was disgusted by Chris Cuomo’s on-air statements in response to the allegations made against his brother, Gov. Andrew Cuomo,” the Times reported.

Katz cited Chris Cuomo's comments during a March 1 broadcast about sexual harassment that he "always cared very deeply about these issues, and profoundly so."

CNN fired Chris Cuomo on Saturday evening, citing a law firm investigation into the anchor's assistance and advice to his brother's office during the sex scandal that engulfed and fell the New York governor earlier this year. The network issued a statement sidestepping the question of whether Katz's allegation played a role in the termination.

“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," CNN said.

A spokesman for Chris Cuomo, Steven Goldberg, said the anchor stood by his March statement, dismissed the new concerns as "apparently anonymous allegations" and declared emphatically they "are not true.”

"If the goal in making these false and unvetted accusations was to see Mr. Cuomo punished by CNN, that may explain his unwarranted termination.”