Here’s today’s talk of the media town, and it’s a doozy.
When Judith Regan was unceremoniously fired by Harper Collins in 2006 on the heels of an "ill-advised" book project ("If I Did It") involving O.J. Simpson, she sued News Corp., the owner of the publishing imprint, for $100 million for wrongful termination.
In the suit — which was settled out of court for a reported $10.7 million — Regan alleged that a senior executive at the company told her to lie to federal investigators about her affair with Bernard Kerik, the former New York Police Commissioner and then-nominated Homeland Security secretary.
Regan never revealed the identity of that News Corp. executive, but according to affidavits filed in a separate lawsuit uncovered by the New York Times on Thursday, it was Fox News chief Roger Ailes who allegedly encouraged Regan to lie.
Not only that, but Regan apparently taped the conversation, according to the Times.
Ailes’ goal “was to keep the affair quiet and protect the then-nascent presidential aspirations of former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Kerik’s mentor and supporter,” according to the Times' account.
News Corp. released a statement claiming it has a letter from Regan that states: “Mr. Ailes did not intend to influence her with respect to a government investigation,” but refused to show the Times the letter.
The new documents — part of a lawsuit filed against Regan by her lawyers in the original case, who claim she fired them to avoid paying 25 percent of her settlement with News Corp. — were supposed to be sealed. So how did the Times get ahold of them? “It does not appear a court order sealing them was ever sent to the clerk at State Supreme Court in Manhattan, and the records were placed in the public case file.”
More to come on this one, I’m sure.