Former CNN star anchor Chris Cuomo is preparing to sue his former employer for US$18 million left on his contract on the grounds that CNN president Jeff Zucker knew of his involvement in his brother's sex pest investigation.
CNN fired the 51-year-old news anchor on Saturday after details emerged about how he assisted his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, as the politician faced sexual harassment allegations earlier this year.
The network suspended Chris Cuomo earlier in the week to investigate his conduct, after New York's attorney general released details showing he was more involved than previously known in helping to strategise and reach out to other journalists as his brother fought to keep his job.
CNN hired a law firm for the review. The firm recommended Chris Cuomo's termination and CNN chief Jeff Zucker informed the anchor of the decision on Saturday.
Cuomo is now threatening to sue CNN if it does not pay out the remainder of his four year contract, which amounts to US$6 million a year, according to the New York Post. He claims that Zucker knew about his involvement in his brother's scandal, a claim which CNN asserts to be "patently false".
An anonymous inside source has told the Post that the network has "no intention of paying Cuomo a penny", adding that "if he gets a settlement, there would be an uproar".
In addition to the concern over his involvement in his brother's sex scandal, just days before his firing by CNN, Cuomo was accused of sexual harassment himself. Lawyer for the accuser revealed that her client was the victim of "serious sexual misconduct" by Cuomo and CNN had been notified.
At the time of his firing Cuomo took to Twitter, saying: "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."
The new misconduct allegation comes after a veteran TV executive, Shelley Ross, wrote a column for the New York Times in September saying Chris Cuomo had groped her at a party 16 years ago, when they both worked for ABC News. Cuomo told the newspaper that "I apologised to her then, and I meant it".