Controversial attorney Alan Dershowitz, himself embroiled in a lawsuit with the network, says that Chris Cuomo will prevail should he go ahead and sue CNN for his termination.
Reports have suggested that Cuomo is considering pursuing CNN for $18 million, said to be the remaining value of his multi-year contract with the network.
Dershowitz, a Harvard professor emeritus, said in an interview on Newsmax that Cuomo, CNN’s former top anchor, hadn’t misled anyone during his time there.
Cuomo was fired over the help he gave his brother, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, amid sexual-harassment allegations against the latter.
The younger Cuomo apologized on air in May for coaching his brother and his political team through the allegations, saying he had never hidden it. But legal filings released by the New York attorney general’s office in November indicated that he also leveraged his position as a powerful journalist to assist his brother.
In its announcement of the firing, CNN cited “additional information” that preceded it — a possible reference to new sexual-harassment allegations against Chris Cuomo, which the former anchor has denied.
The New York Post and Puck have reported that Cuomo planned to sue the network, with the Post saying he would seek the roughly $18 million remaining on his contract. Following those reports, Jeff Zucker, CNN’s president, told employees that the network wouldn’t pay Cuomo any severance.
Speaking to Newsmax, Dershowitz said he was confident that Cuomo would win any litigation.
“I think he’s going to get his $18 million, and I bless him for going forward and trying to hold CNN responsible for malpractice reporting, breaking contracts, and applying a double standard,” he told Newsmax’s, Sean Spicer.
Dershowitz did not fully explain the details of the alleged wrongdoing by CNN.
The celebrated attorney is embroiled in a fight of his own with the network, a long-running $300 million defamation lawsuit in which Dershowitz said CNN misleadingly edited his statements on former President Donald Trump’s legal position when he was representing him in 2020.
Dershowitz told Spicer that Zucker was the person who should be fired and that he hoped Cuomo wins.
Zucker, he said, encouraged Cuomo’s “love fest” with his brother on CNN when ratings on the network were falling. This was likely a reference to the fawning interviews steeped with jovial sibling rivalry that Cuomo conducted with his brother in the summer of 2020 before Andrew was accused of sexual assault.
“There’s no way that Chris Cuomo misled CNN,” Dershowitz continued. “CNN was responsible for the decision to keep him on the air.”
“If they thought that the viewers would be misled, they should have said, ‘Look, you’re going to be off the air during the time of the investigation.’ It was Zucker’s decision to make, not Cuomo’s decision,” he said.
Dershowitz added, “They might not have known a detail here and there, but that’s not enough to fire somebody.”
Morality clauses are vague, Dershowitz said, in reference to the clause CNN is said to have cited in Cuomo’s firing.
Cuomo nor his attorneys have yet to confirm if he will take any action against CNN.