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Did Don Lemon follow in Chris Cuomo’s footsteps?

Did Don Lemon follow in Chris Cuomo’s footsteps?

The dust has hardly settled on CNN’s firing of their primetime anchor Chris Cuomo than his bromantic media partner, Don Lemon, is now under scrutiny.  You will recall that Cuomo had used his position at the Network to obtain information to help his brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, fight off those sex harassment charges.  Cuomo lied about the depth of his involvement to the public and the Network bosses.

And now we have Lemon – and in this case it was to help actor Jussie Smollett, who was recently convicted of five counts of felonious disorderly conduct.  That is a lot more serious than it sounds and could net Smollett up to three years in prison.

The issue involved an email that Lemon sent to Smollett, warning him that the police did not believe his story.  The issue revolves around when and why Lemon passed that information along.  How did Lemon acquire that information?  

If the information had not yet been made public – and it was obtained through confidential CNN sources – Lemon could be seen as aiding and abetting Smollett’s defense.  Ironically, if Lemon had announced that information on air from a police department leaker, he might have been okay.  But the fact that he passed the information along privately and personally for Smollett’s strategic planning is a different issue.

It also may depend on the policies of CNN and any provisions in the employment contract that may govern the use of sourced information.

While initially very supportive of Smollett, Lemon has turned on him in his most recent broadcasts – calling the actor a liar.  Lemon may have gotten angry because Smollett revealed Lemon’s warning emails in open court.  Lemon may also be trying to distance himself from Smollett so it would seem less likely that he would have been helping the actor work on his defense.

As with Cuomo, it is unlikely that Lemon faces any criminal issues.  He may have some civil liability if he has a contract that prohibits such private revelations.  For sure, Lemon has a very serious ethical and credibility issue – and even by modern day standards of journalism, that could be a problem.

Both Cuomo and Lemon used CNN sourced information to help a person with whom they had a personal relationship.  If CNN were to apply the same standards, Lemon’s job could be at risk.  Lemon also has a second problem.  He is being dragged into court in a civil suit alleging that the CNN anchor had sexually assaulted a young man in a bar.  Apparently, Lemon could not keep his hands in his own pockets. But the Network may still be reluctant to toss their two top performers out the door in such a short time.

There is another consideration.  What is the new owner of CNN going to do?  Yes, the cable news pioneer has recently changed hands and the word “shake-up” is reverberating throughout the Network.  More on that in a future commentary.

So, there ‘tis.

Here is the article link to the information below: https://www.newsweek.com/don-lemon-faces-ethical-questions-over-jussie-smolletts-tip-off-testimony-racial-attack-chicago-1657664

CNN anchor Don Lemon is facing “ethical questions,” after it was claimed in court that he had warned Jussie Smollett about the police investigation into his alleged racist and homophobic attack.

Former Empire star Smollett is currently awaiting the jury’s verdict, after standing trial amid accusations he orchestrated his own alleged attack by two men in 2019 on the streets of Chicago, during which he stated that a noose was tied around his neck.

During a court testimony earlier this week, Smollett alleged that Lemon had sent him a message informing him that the Chicago Police Department did not believe his account of what had happened on the night in question.

The claim sparked an outcry among prominent conservative pundits, a number of whom called on CNN to fire Lemon, while others questioned the legality of his alleged actions.

However, if it turns out to be the case that Lemon did, indeed, send such a message to Smollett, legal experts have shared that it wouldn’t indicate any illegal activity on the newsman’s part—though there could be other questions.

“If these same facts had occurred in California, I would not see any criminal liability for Don Lemon telling Jussie that the cops did not believe him,” San Francisco-based attorney-at-law Marc Pelta told Newsweek.

“For instance, does Lemon have a contract with CNN that prohibits from him sharing such information about a developing story with the subject of the investigation? Was Lemon trying to help Smollett just as [Chris] Cuomo was trying to help his ex-governor brother?

“This could be nothing more than one friend looking out for another, while potentially having civil liability ramifications, again, depending on the terms of the contract, and which jurisdiction’s law would apply to such issues.

“I do not know where Lemon signed the contract or to which jurisdiction the contractual terms would even apply. There are some important unanswered questions here.”

Smollett is accused of paying brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo $3,500 to help stage the alleged attack. The siblings have been accused by the actor’s defense team of asking for $1 million each to not testify that the alleged attack was a hoax.

Former Empire star Smollett is currently awaiting the jury’s verdict, after standing trial amid accusations he orchestrated his own alleged attack by two men in 2019 on the streets of Chicago, during which he stated that a noose was tied around his neck.

During a court testimony earlier this week, Smollett alleged that Lemon had sent him a message informing him that the Chicago Police Department did not believe his account of what had happened on the night in question.

The claim sparked an outcry among prominent conservative pundits, a number of whom called on CNN to fire Lemon, while others questioned the legality of his alleged actions.

However, if it turns out to be the case that Lemon did, indeed, send such a message to Smollett, legal experts have shared that it wouldn’t indicate any illegal activity on the newsman’s part—though there could be other questions.

“If these same facts had occurred in California, I would not see any criminal liability for Don Lemon telling Jussie that the cops did not believe him,” San Francisco-based attorney-at-law Marc Pelta told Newsweek.

“For instance, does Lemon have a contract with CNN that prohibits from him sharing such information about a developing story with the subject of the investigation? Was Lemon trying to help Smollett just as [Chris] Cuomo was trying to help his ex-governor brother?

“This could be nothing more than one friend looking out for another, while potentially having civil liability ramifications, again, depending on the terms of the contract, and which jurisdiction’s law would apply to such issues.

“I do not know where Lemon signed the contract or to which jurisdiction the contractual terms would even apply. There are some important unanswered questions here.”

Smollett is accused of paying brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo $3,500 to help stage the alleged attack. The siblings have been accused by the actor’s defense team of asking for $1 million each to not testify that the alleged attack was a hoax.

Legal experts have told Newsweek that CNN anchor Don Lemon (L) is facing “ethical questions” over his decision to inform Jussie Smollett (R) that police did not believe his account of being the victim of an alleged racist and homophobic attack back in 2019.JESSE GRANT/GETTY IMAGES FOR THR

Reasons for Making Contact

With Smollett’s account of what happened on the night in question being scrutinized, New York City-based criminal defense attorney Julie Rendelman told Newsweek that no hasty conclusions can be made on the details shared.

“The first question regarding the Don Lemon controversy is whether he, in fact, texted Smollett as Smollett indicated in his trial testimony,” Rendelman said. “After all, Smollett does have a motive to not be fully forthright in his testimony as he is the one on trial.

“Assuming it is true, the next question is how Don Lemon received the information regarding the police. Was he simply assuming the police didn’t believe Smollett or had he received it from a source?

“Either way, ethical questions arise regarding his conduct, but it would seem much more egregious if the information provided to Smollett came from a source, particularly when Lemon was commenting on the case in the context of his show.”

‘Personal’ Significance

Amid the questions, it’s also worth noting that it is common journalistic practice to contact a source regarding a major news story.

Shortly after news of the alleged attack first broke, Lemon told CNN viewers that the story was of “personal” significance to him as he was acquainted with the actor. He also revealed that was in regular contact with Smollett at the time.

Stating that Smollett should be viewed upon as “innocent until proven guilty,” Lemon added that the star will have “squandered the good will of a whole lot of people” if it later emerged that his account was fabricated.

“He even lied to a lot of people… including me. And that’s not cool,” Lemon had said, per Fox News. “He squandered the good will of very high-profile people who one day may be running this country like Kamala Harris and Cory Booker and people like President Trump.”

Another Perspective

Pelta, a former criminal prosecutor, told Newsweek that Lemon may have had other reasons for contacting Smollett about the police investigation at the time.

“[For] all we know, maybe Lemon told that to Smollett as a way to indirectly suggest that Lemon did not believe Smollett,” Pelta said. “I seriously doubt Lemon is a gullible person and he is probably as intelligent as some of the best cops out there and then some.”

He went on: “I have no bias here other than the average taxpayer seeing one’s tax-dollars at work because it’s obvious Smollett does not seem to think he has much to lose and is insisting on his constitutional right to a fair trial regardless of what most people may think about the case already.”

Newsweek has contacted representatives of Lemon and CNN for comment.

Smollett is charged with six counts of felony disorderly conduct for making what prosecutors have said was a false police report. If found guilty, he faces up to three years in prison, though legal analysts have said that he is more likely to be ordered to perform community service.

The star has maintained his innocence throughout, and testified during his trial that the alleged attack was not a hoax.

Closing arguments were presented in court on Wednesday, before members of the jury were given instructions ahead of deliberations.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry HoristLarry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

6 Comments

  1. john fudacz

    lemonhead is just following all those other perverts at cnn !how many more are going to show up now since cnn lieing perverts are starting to show ! this country is under attack by antireligious perverts in thenews outlets and our gov !!!

  2. john fudacz

    cnn shit follows shit,lomonhead wanted equal rights as that white perverts cuomos!!

  3. Sam

    Stink finger lemonhead is the best cnn has to offer!!!!
    He is at the top of their talent tree.

    • Jim bailey

      Like stink finger Biden with the Tara Reade scandal that democrats ignored.

  4. Ben

    So let me get this straight, Cuomo gave secret advice to a politician and was fired. Larry has written two articles about it.
    Multiple Fox personalities give the President secret advice and not a peep from Larry.

    I guess if an anchor gives a politician secrete advice he lacks integrity. If an entire network does it, it company policy and is ok.

  5. Ac

    Larry, all you have is supposition, hearsay, and suppositions. If a case is to be made a lawyer needs more of the slam dunk sure evidence. Of that you are a mile short
    Through your opinion commentaries it’s dead obvious you are down with a terminal case of animosity. With that handicap fair and just appraisal of circumstances surrounding cases involving persons hated by you makes you an unreliable commentator. Objectivity for you is not ever on the table. Opinion commentators, of course, are absolved of the objectivity portion called for in honest real journalism.
    Therefore, wisdom calls you to recuse yourself from this case.
    On the other hand, you wish not the disappointment some of your more vocal readers who would surely vent using their customary crude imagery related to bodily waste material.
    The readership you seem to attract are more from the radicalized Trumpist brand. Those honest good and true traditional conservative Republicans are taking a pass on the pup.
    My interest is more from a psychological perspective. Politics is into abnormal psychology, no doubt about it. That group makes up the macro school of psychology. It’s you the micro individual who is of particular fascination, an apt specimen type for further analysis.
    White, male, senior to elderly aged, middle European probably Germanic origin, stifled frustrated would be politician, great aspirations unachieved, mid-America big city near suburban raised and educated. Early years and pre-adolescent stage critically important for later development beyond post adolescence. Question: what trauma brought about an altered state of mind which over 6 decades produced one possessed of anger with no bounds. A person consumed by a dark force obsessed with digging up dirt for further reinforcement underpinning the drive to delegitimize anything or one presumed Democratic Party oriented. Mere perception or smell of the politically left elicits a. nerve twinge. The next pbp article is the one waited for and reveal the award winning journalist long denied recognition.
    Early on, the Chicago period, what transpired there and arrested development. It’s a mystery deep and dark in deed. Should just let it be. At this point. it’s late in the game on the fourth down and long.

    raised
    a