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Jeff Zucker quits CNN after relationship with top executive

Chris Cuomo has fiercely disputed the terms of his departure from CNN, which has refused to pay the presenter’s severance package or honor the remainder of his current contract, claiming he engaged in conduct contrary to the law. ‘ethics. Mr. Cuomo has retained the services of powerful Hollywood litigator Bryan Freedman.

In discussions with WarnerMedia attorneys, Mr. Cuomo’s legal team raised the topic of Mr. Zucker’s relationship with Ms. Gollus, according to two people briefed on the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

Early last week, Mr. Zucker and Ms. Gollus were questioned about their relationship by lawyers from Cravath, Swaine & Moore, a law firm that WarnerMedia had retained to investigate Mr. Cuomo’s tenure with the network, according to two people briefed on internal relations. deliberations.

Cravath’s lawyers were questioning CNN officials extensively about Mr. Cuomo’s tenure and the events that led to his dismissal, in part because CNN executives believed the dispute could eventually lead to litigation, according to the two people. , who spoke on condition of anonymity. discuss company business. Mr. Cuomo’s lawyers sent a letter asking CNN to preserve messages between Mr. Zucker, Ms. Gollust, Andrew Cuomo and Andrew Cuomo’s staff.

Among other things, days before Mr. Cuomo was fired, CNN had been made aware of an accusation of sexual misconduct against the presenter by a former junior colleague from another network. Mr. Cuomo denied the accusation.

WarnerMedia chief executive Jason Kilar spoke with Mr. Zucker after the talks and told the CNN president he could not stay with the company, two people briefed on their discussion said. Mr. Zucker offered to stay on for a transition period while the network found a new leader, but Mr. Kilar rejected that suggestion, one of the people said.

A hands-on manager who whispers into presenters’ earpieces and calls into the control room at odd hours, Mr. Zucker had been absent from his usual editorial calls in recent days. But even some of his closest confidants had no idea he was about to come out. In CNN’s newsroom, where Mr. Zucker commands fierce loyalty, reporters and producers were stunned.