ABC News investigative correspondent Brian Ross and his top producer have decided to leave the network, seven months after Ross was suspended for an erroneous report about former national security adviser Michael Flynn, the network said.
Ross is departing alongside Rhonda Schwartz, his team’s chief producer.
“They’ve exposed government corruption at every level, international human rights abuses and fraud, uncovered dangerous working conditions, sexual abuse cover-ups and dishonest business practices,” ABC News President James Goldston wrote in a note to the network’s news division on Monday. “Their work has led repeatedly to real changes in policy in the U.S. and around the world.”
The network’s note made no mention of Ross’ botched report late last year, which said Flynn was prepared to testify that Donald Trump had asked him to reach out to Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign. The network later corrected the story to say that Trump had instructed Flynn to contact Russian officials while he was president-elect, not while he was campaigning.
It was an embarrassing moment for ABC, as the distinction was critical when reporting on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump team and Russia during the lead-up to the 2016 election. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in December and awaits sentencing.
Ross was suspended for four weeks and was told he could no longer report on Trump. Monday’s farewell message on Twitter was Ross’ first tweet since he issued an apology for the mishandled report.
“It’s time to say good-bye after 24 years at ABC News, an organization that has meant so much to us,” he wrote. “While Rhonda Schwartz and I are signing off from ABC News, we are hardly leaving investigative journalism. There is much more to do.”