Fired CNN host Chris Cuomo is set to sue the network if it balks at paying him at least $18 million to cover what’s left on his contract, sources told The Post on Monday.
Cuomo, 51, has hired lawyers and is preparing to file the lawsuit over the remainder of the four-year contract he signed last year — after a bitter back-and-forth about what the network knew of his secret efforts to aid his embattled brother, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said sources familiar with the matter.
His contract was reportedly worth $6 million annually, leaving between $18 million and $20 million that he would be owed, sources said, adding that Chris Cuomo would also likely seek damages.
But CNN has “no intention of paying [Chris] Cuomo a penny,” an insider said.
“If he gets a settlement, there would be uproar,” the source added.
Another source said, “CNN has a standard morality clause in their contract that says if the employee does anything of disrepute, they can be immediately fired.”
Chris Cuomo was canned Saturday, four days after being suspended over information contained in a trove of documents released by state Attorney General Letitia James from her investigation into the sexual harassment allegations that forced Andrew Cuomo to resign in August.
Lawyers from the white-shoe firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore told CNN that the documents gave the network legal grounds to fire the “Cuomo Prime Time” star for contacting “sources” about planned news reports regarding his brother, as well as trying to dig up dirt on at least one of Andrew’s accusers, sources said.
The lawyers’ stance even came ahead of a planned internal CNN probe into an unspecified sexual misconduct allegation against Chris Cuomo that the network received last week and which dates to his time working for ABC News, sources said.
Chris Cuomo’s spokesman has insisted, “These apparently anonymous allegations are not true.”
On Sunday, a spokesman for Chris Cuomo told the Wall Street Journal that CNN President Jeff Zucker knew “about the details of Mr. Cuomo’s support for his brother,” adding, “There were no secrets about this, as other individuals besides Mr. Cuomo can attest.”
In response, CNN blasted its former 9 p.m. weekday host, saying, “He has made a number of accusations that are patently false.”
“This reinforces why he was terminated for violating our standards and practices, as well as his lack of candor,” the network added.
A CNN insider on Monday also called Cuomo’s claims “absurd” and “patently untrue.”
“If Jeff had known all along, Chris would have been fired earlier, not suspended,” the source added.
“He lied to us.”
Both CNN and Chris Cuomo’s spokesman declined to comment.
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