Brian Williams suspended for six months
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NBC has suspended star anchor Brian Williams for six months without pay for his false story about coming under fire in Iraq, NBC News President Deborah Turness announced late Tuesday.

"As managing editor and anchor of 'Nightly News,' Brian has a responsibility to be truthful and to uphold the high standards of the news division at all times," Turness said in a note to NBC's news division staff.


She said that the network was also concerned "about comments that occurred outside NBC News while Brian was talking about his experiences in the field."

An internal review of Williams's statements is ongoing, Turness added. Lester Holt will anchor "NBC Nightly News" during Williams's suspension.

Turness also shared a message from Steve Burke, the chief executive officer of Comcast, which owns NBC.

"By his actions, Brian has jeopardized the trust millions of Americans place in NBC News," Burke said. "His actions are inexcusable and this suspension is severe and appropriate."

Still, he said Williams "deserves a second chance and we are rooting for him."

The development comes after a week of speculation over Williams's future at the network.

In a January segment on "NBC Nightly News," Williams said that he had been in a helicopter in the early days of the Iraq War that took fire from a rocket-propelled grenade and had to make an emergency landing. It was a story that Williams had repeated, in different forms, for years.

On Facebook, veterans who had been involved in the incident questioned his version of events.

Last Wednesday, Williams admitted that he hadn't been in the helicopter, but rather in an aircraft in a formation about an hour behind the helicopters that had made the emergency landings.

He apologized in an interview with the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, and said seeing video of himself inspecting the landing site had caused him to "conflate" the crash landing and his own experiences. He also apologized on his broadcast that night.

Questions about his explanation persisted throughout the week, but he anchored NBC's newscast on Thursday and Friday. Some also raised questions about stories Williams had told about covering Hurricane Katrina.

Over the weekend, he announced he was taking a brief leave of absence.

"In the midst of a career spent covering and consuming news, it has become painfully apparent to me that I am presently too much a part of the news, due to my actions," he said in a statement.

With his future at NBC increasingly murky, it remains unclear who the network could draw on to replace Williams. Since he took over "NBC Nightly News" in 2004, he has become the nation's top-rated news anchor and raised his public profile by appearing on comedy shows like "30 Rock" and "Saturday Night Live."

This story was last updated at 8:58 p.m.