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Kelly Ripa Defends Co-Host Seacrest Amid Sex Misconduct Allegations

Ryan Seacrest received a proclamation of support Thursday from his “Live” co-host Kelly Ripa — days after a former stylist on the E! Network went public with allegations that Seacrest subjected her to years of unwanted sexual misconduct.

On Thursday’s broadcast of "Live," Ripa praised her beleaguered co-host as an "easy, professional, great person," and expressed excitement over Seacrest’s upcoming stint manning the red carpet coverage at the Oscars for E!, an annual tradition for the network.

The comments come days after details of allegations against Seacrest were publicized. An attorney for stylist Suzie Hardy sent a legal letter to the management of E!, corporate parent NBCUniversal and Seacrest in November accusing the 43-year-old Seacrest of grinding his erect penis against her while wearing only underwear, groping her vagina and spanking her rear so hard that it left a large welt still visible hours later.

Seacrest has denied the charges. He said in a statement in part about Hardy, "This person who has accused me of horrible things offered, on multiple occasions, to withdraw her claims if I paid her millions of dollars. I refused."

E! is owned and distributed by NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News, MSNBC, and this station.

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