I’m just catching up to the extraordinary news that the US Attorney in New York, Preet Bharara, is investigating Fox News and Roger Ailes. The issue is whether they properly reported all the payouts over sexual harassment. The SEC is apparently involved.
The news of the US Attorney’s investigation was revealed by Judd Burstein, the lawyer for Andrea Tantaros. She’s suing the network saying they retaliated against her after she made her sexual harassment claim. She’s one of many women who filed complaints against Ailes and Fox News, starting with $20 million for Gretchen Carlson.
These complaints don’t include the settlements made on behalf of Bill O’Reilly including a reported $10 million payout to Andrea Mackris– the infamous “loofah” story. Fox News also settled a recent claim made against O’Reilly by Juliet Huddy.
Burstein said he knew of the Fox News investigation because another one of his clients was subpoenaed. That would likely be Brian Lewis, Ailes’ former PR hatchet man. Ailes is said to have fired Lewis in 2013 because he blamed him for not protecting him from New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman’s book about Ailes. Lewis ws then smeared (this is what Fox does) in the press. Lewis sued, and reportedly received an $8 million settlement.
Presumably, Lewis signed an NDA to keep his mouth shut. But Lewis knows where all of Ailes’s bodies are buried. He buried a lot them himself. He’s the only former Foxer publicly connected to Burstein, who features their association on his website. They’ve obviously found a way for Lewis to share his knowledge of Ailes– via the US Attorney.
Strangely, no one who reported the revelation of the investigation mentioned Lewis’s name. But Ailes and Fox should worry that Lewis, under subpeona, will tell everything he knows.