Chris Cuomo was accused of sexual misconduct by former colleague days before CNN firing
In a statement released Sunday, attorney Debra Katz said she contacted the network on Wednesday to report her client's allegations of sexual misconduct against Cuomo.
"By Friday, I was in discussions with CNN about providing documentary evidence of my client's allegations and making my client available for an interview with CNN's outside counsel. Last night, CNN acted promptly on my client's complaint and fired Mr. Cuomo," the statement said.
"My client came forward at this time because she felt in sharing her story and related documentation, she could help protect other women," Katz added, noting that the unidentified woman "will continue to cooperate with CNN's investigation into her allegations."
Katz also said, "In the wake of public sexual harassment allegations against former Governor Andrew Cuomo, Chris Cuomo looked directly into the camera and told viewers of Cuomo Prime Time, 'I have always cared very deeply about these issues and profoundly so. I just wanted to tell you that.'"
She continued, "Subsequently, the Attorney General released jaw-dropping documentary evidence demonstrating that Chris Cuomo played an active role in attempting to smear women whom the Attorney General concluded had made serious allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct against the Governor. Hearing the hypocrisy of Chris Cuomo's on-air words and disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women, my client retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN."
Katz said in a statement to The New York Times on Saturday that the allegation against the journalist, which was made by a former junior colleague at another network, was "unrelated to the Gov. Andrew Cuomo matter." Katz is also the lawyer for Charlotte Bennett, a former aide to Andrew, who accused the former New York governor of sexual harassment in February.
Steven Goldberg, a spokesperson for Chris, denied the allegations made against his client on Sunday in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
"To the extent that they were sent to CNN to negate what Chris Cuomo told his audience, he fully stands by his on-air statements about his connection to these issues, both professionally and in a profoundly personal way. If the goal in making these false and unvetted accusations was to see Mr. Cuomo punished by CNN, that may explain his unwarranted termination," Goldberg said.
A spokesperson for CNN told PEOPLE on Tuesday that Chris was suspended by the network indefinitely after information released by the New York Attorney General the day before "shed new light" on the anchor's involvement in defending his brother against sexual misconduct allegations.
"The documents, which we were not privy to before their public release, raise serious questions," the network said in a statement at the time. "When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother's staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly. But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second."
Chris briefly addressed the suspension on his SiriusXM show Let's Get After It the next day: "It hurts to even say it. It's embarrassing. But I understand it and I understand why people feel the way they do about what I did. I've apologized in the past. I mean it. It's the last thing I wanted to do was compromise any of my colleagues and do anything but help."
CNN announced the decision to fire Chris in a statement on Saturday, noting "additional information has come to light" while evaluating the journalist's involvement in the defense of his brother Andrew, who resigned as governor of New York in August following allegations of sexual misconduct.
"Chris Cuomo was suspended earlier this weekend pending further evaluation of new information that came to light about his involvement with his brother's defense," said the statement. "We retained a respected law firm to conduct a review, and have terminated him, effective immediately."
In a separate statement of his own, the former Cuomo Prime Time host said this is not how he wanted his time at the network to end.
"So let me say now as disappointing as this is, I could not be more proud of the team at Cuomo Prime Time and the work we did as CNN's #1 show in the most competitive timeslot," Chris wrote. "I owe them all and will miss that group of special people who did really important work."
This story originally appeared on people.com