Chris Cuomo Claims Unlawful Termination From CNN, Asking for $125 Million

The newsman is claiming he had 'his journalistic integrity unjustifiably smeared.'

Chris Cuomo is arguing that CNN firing him led to "his journalistic integrity unjustifiably smeared."

In November, Chris was suspended indefinitely from the news network after documents indicated that he was more deeply involved in helping his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, build a legal defense against multiple allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct.

Months later, he's asking CNN for $125 million in damages, claiming he was wrongfully terminated based on false claims that he defied journalistic ethics. The 51-year-old newsman, who started at CNN in 2013, claims he was transparent with the news network's leadership team about his involvement with his brother's personal and professional troubles.

Chris further claims that not only was the leadership team aware of everything, but they had previously changed their code of ethics in order to allow him to interview his brother, who was the governor of New York at the time, amid the coronavirus pandemic in an effort to boost ratings.

Once scrutiny toward his brother intensified, however, Chris claims that CNN leadership, including Jeff Zucker, who was president of the network at the time, changed their tune, calling for his termination and citing his alleged involvement with his brother as well as alleged sexual misconduct claims against him. Chris is claiming that neither his involvement with Andrew nor the sexual misconduct claims, which he says are "false," were properly investigated by CNN.

In addition to claiming he was unlawfully terminated, Chris and his legal team are also arguing that CNN breached their contract with him by not enforcing that his former colleagues could not speak ill of him. In fact, he claims Jake Tapper, Don Lemon, and Brian Stelter all made disparaging comments about him, which contributed to damaging his reputation as a journalist. 

In a statement to ET, Chris' lawyer, Bryan Freedman, said "it should by now be obvious that Chris Cuomo did not lie to CNN about helping his brother." 

"In fact, as the limited information released from WarnerMedia’s investigation makes clear, CNN’s highest-level executives not only knew about Chris’s involvement in helping his brother but also actively assisted the Governor, both through Chris and directly themselves. As CNN has admitted, network standards were changed in a calculated decision to boost ratings. When those practices were called into question, Chris was made the scapegoat," the statement continued. "The legal action filed today makes clear that CNN wrongfully terminated Chris and further violated the express terms of his employment agreement by allowing its employees to disparage him. Chris is owed a full apology from those responsible."

A CNN spokesperson said they have "no comment." ET has reached out to Zucker, who stepped down as president in February, for comment.