US Attorney Joins Probe Into LAPD’s Handling of Les Moonves Sex Assault Accusations

The investigation, which involves a police captain with ties to CBS executives who worked to hush up the allegations, may now result in federal charges

Les Moonves
Les Moonves (Getty Images)

A federal corruption prosecutor has joined the Los Angeles Police Department investigation into allegations that the department mishandled a sexual assault complaint against former CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing the LAPD.

The news follows word that the department opened a probe in November into a now-retired LAPD officer’s alleged efforts to keep accusations leveled against the former CEO in 2017 that dated from the 1980s from going public.

Any criminal conduct uncovered in the probe would likely have occurred too far in the past to prosecute under local laws that have a three-year statute of limitations, the Times reported.

But the revelation that Mack Jenkins, head of the criminal division that includes the corruption unit for the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles, is working with the LAPD, opens up the possibility of federal charges against the officer and possibly others in the department involved in the case.

The LAPD’s inquiry was revealed following a bombshell report from the New York Attorney General last year that announced that Moonves and Paramount Global would pay a combined $24.5 million to CBS shareholders to settle insider trading and sexual misconduct claims.

The New York AG’s report said that the officer, later identified as former Commander Cory Palka, worked with executives for months to hush up the allegations, even as a CBS executive maneuvered to sell $8.9 million in stock before anything went public, while the #MeToo movement whipped through in the industry.

Palka was accused of sharing an unredacted, confidential police report filed by Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb that claimed Moonves forced her to perform oral sex on him in his car in 1986 and detailed other inappropriate conduct.

The AG’s report said Palka, who had a longstanding relationship with the company, where he moonlighted as an executive bodyguard, had a private meeting with Moonves to discuss the allegations, where he promised to keep the executive apprised of interactions between his accuser and the police.

He then worked to keep Golden-Gottlieb quiet. Her allegations didn’t become public until 2018, after the LA district attorney turned the case down. She died last year.

Palka retired from the department in early 2021 after a 34-year career. The department has said it did not know of the officer’s involvement until the New York AG report came to light.