Howard Kurtz: Chris Cuomo firing rooted in anonymous accusation, collapse of relationship with Jeff Zucker
The ‘MediaBuzz’ host discusses the aftermath of the liberal CNN anchor’s termination from the network.
WARNING: SOME DETAILS FROM INDICTMENT MAY BE DISTURBING
The CNN producer accused of shocking sex crimes against minors once decried the growing number of news stories about child abuse.
John Griffin was charged by a grand jury in Vermont “with three counts of using a facility of interstate commerce to attempt to entice minors to engage in unlawful sexual activity.” Griffin is currently in custody and his arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday at 11 a.m ET.
Griffin, a senior producer for CNN’s long-struggling morning program “New Day,” was taken into custody following a federal indictment accusing him of coercing parents to allow their minor daughters to engage in sexual activity in his home.
However, Griffin was once vocally disheartened by the growing instances of crimes against children that were being committed.
“Just did the math. We have, count ’em, FOUR stories about people abusing kids today. 3 up now. If we’re society’s mirror, you people suck,” Griffin tweeted in 2010.
Griffin was working at ABC News at the time as the lead home page editor, according to his LinkedIn profile. He later joined CNN in 2013.
The old tweet resurfaced over the weekend amid news of the federal indictment, which was mocked by critics.
The indictment, which was sealed when the arrest was first reported, provides lewd particulars of crimes allegedly committed by the CNN senior producer. The indictment includes various messages Griffin sent via Kik, Google Hangouts, and texts. Griffin stated he believes there is a “wanton whore” at “the core of any” female and that “a woman is a woman regardless of her age,” according to messages included in the indictment.
According to the indictment, Griffin sent text messages to a mother of two daughters, ages 9 and 13, which stated, “One of the big lies of this society is that women are delicate innocent angels and they are in actuality, naturally, the dirtiest sluts possible, in EVERY metric.”
The CNN producer also allegedly texted the mother, “When handled appropriately, a woman is a woman regardless of her age” and urged the mother to make sure her 13-year-old daughter was “trained properly.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Vermont wrote in a statement that Griffin “sought to persuade parents to allow him to train their daughters to be sexually submissive.”
CNN senior producer John Griffin was charged by a grand jury in Vermont "with three counts of using a facility of interstate commerce to attempt to entice minors to engage in unlawful sexual activity." (LinkedIn)
“Griffin later transferred over $3,000 to the mother for plane tickets so the mother and her 9-year-old daughter could fly from Nevada to Boston’s Logan airport. The mother and child flew to Boston in July of 2020, where Griffin picked them up in his Tesla and drove them to his Ludlow house. At the house, the daughter was directed to engage in, and did engage in, unlawful sexual activity,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Vermont wrote.
The now-unsealed indictment indicated he had “sexually trained girls as young as 7 years old” and advised a mother that her 14-year-old daughter “would be a good candidate for such training.” He allegedly proposed that training would begin on a video chat where he “planned to instruct the 14-year-old and her mother to remove their clothing and touch each other” and eventually declared in-person meetings would include “spanking” and “c–k worship.”
CNN suspended Griffin, who worked with former CNN star Chris Cuomo, a “New Day” anchor from its inception in 2013 until he launched his primetime show in 2018. Griffin’s LinkedIn page, which has not been updated since the network fired the former “Cuomo Prime Time” namesake, declares he works “shoulder-to-shoulder with lead anchor Chris Cuomo, seeing him through each show and producing live breaking news across the country and around the world.”
“We take the charges against Mr. Griffin incredibly seriously,” a CNN spokesperson told Fox News Digital. “We only learned of his arrest this afternoon and have suspended him pending investigation.”
CNN did not immediately respond to a series of follow-up questions including whether the network will allow the legal process play out before making a decision on Griffin’s long-term employment status.
Attorney David Kirby, who is representing Griffin, declined comment when reached by Fox News Digital.
UltraViolet, a leading national gender-justice organization, called for CNN to immediately fire Chris Cuomo.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Vermont, the 44-year-old also “attempted to entice two other children over the internet to engage in sexual activity” and in April 2020, he “proposed to engage in a ‘virtual training session’ over a video chat that would include him instructing the mother and her 14-year-old daughter to remove their clothing and touch each other at his direction.”
Additionally, Griffin “proposed to a purported mother of a 16-year-old daughter that she take a ‘little mother-daughter trip’ to Griffin’s Ludlow ski house for sexual training involving the child” in June 2020.
The federal government intends to seek the forfeiture of Griffin’s house, Tesla, a Mercedes, and other property such as computers and cameras that were used in the commission of the charged offenses, according to the indictment.
Griffin faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years of imprisonment and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for each count, according to the Department of Justice.
A motion for detention pending trial was submitted because “there is a rebuttable presumption that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant as required and the safety of the community because there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed” crimes against a minor. The document indicates evidence against him is “strong” and also noted he has a history of alcohol or substance abuse. The order of detention was signed by Judge Robert M. Spector.
Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report.
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