Who's the Unnamed News Corp Official in Regan's Lawsuit?

Wayne Barrett of the Village Voice believes the first of the two unnamed senior Fox officials named in Judith Regan's lawsuit is Roger Ailes. He's said so on Countdown, Democracy Now and the Abrams Report. Salon has more.

"The funny thing about Judith Regan's complaint is that she doesn't refer to Roger Ailes by name for the first 16 pages, right?" Barrett told Keith Olbermann of MSNBC on Wednesday. "But Roger Ailes is ... clearly the person she is referring to as this senior executive who made all these suggestions to her." The next day, on "Democracy Now," host Amy Goodman opened her segment with Barrett by stating as fact that "Regan ... was talking about Roger Ailes." Barrett responded, "I'm sure you're correct."

Another Salon article adds more dates to the timeline:[More]

Regan and the married Kerik had a well-publicized yearlong affair. Their assignations often took place in a lower Manhattan apartment that had been specifically reserved for the use of workers in the aftermath of 9/11. After Giuliani left the mayor's office on January 1, 2002, Kerik went to work for him as a consultant at Giuliani Partners. Kerik and Regan broke up later in 2002.

Kerik was nominated for Homeland Security Chief in 2004. Salon writes,

In December 2004, according to Regan's complaint, when President Bush tapped Kerik, at Giuliani's recommendation, to head the federal Department of Homeland Security, Regan was pressured to keep quiet, and asked to lie on Kerik's behalf. "[A] senior executive in the News Corp. organization told Regan that he believed she had information about Kerik that, if disclosed, would harm Giuliani's presidential campaign. This executive advised Regan to lie to, and to withhold information from, investigators concerning Kerik. ... [D]efendants knew they would be protecting Giuliani if they could preemptively discredit her."

It seems like Regan is alleging only that she was asked to lie during the background investigation into Bernie Kerik's nomination, not the ensuing criminal investigations.

Regan worked for Fox until December, 2006. By 2005, a wiretap had been installed on Bernie's cell phone and he was being investigated for tax crimes. By September, 2006, he was being investigated by a federal grand jury for bribery and tax crimes.

I'm not seeing anything in her complaint that alleges the Fox officials asked her to lie or withhold documents during those investigations.

Could the Fox execs actions amount to obstruction of justice or tampering with a witness? Under 18 USC Sec. 1505 , Obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees:

Whoever, with intent to avoid, evade, prevent, or obstruct compliance, in whole or in part, with any civil investigative demand duly and properly made under the Antitrust Civil Process Act, willfully withholds, misrepresents, removes from any place, conceals, covers up, destroys, mutilates, alters, or by other means falsifies any documentary material, answers to written interrogatories, or oral testimony, which is the subject of such demand; or attempts to do so or solicits another to do so....Shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years.

There's no indication a grand jury is investigating the Fox Executives over Regan's allegations. Did they not find her credible, despite whatever evidence she claims to have? Or are they not done yet?

By December, 2004, Regan's affair with Kerik had been over for two years. It was not a big secret. I have a hard time believing that Ailes or anyone else would tell her not to tell the feds about it when they could so easily find out.

The question becomes: What exactly is she claiming the Fox execs told her to lie about? What documents does she allege she was told to withhold? I hope some of the investigative reporters on this story can shed some light on this.

Update: Newsweek wrote in December, 2004:

NEWSWEEK has learned that just after Kerik was nominated, Regan told one person that she was contacted by one of his associates, according to a person who knows about the conversation. This person says the associate indicated to Regan how Kerik might characterize their relationship when asked about it during a background check. Kerik, this person says, said he would describe it as a "brother-sister" relationship. Regan took that as code for her to mischaracterize what she has told people was a sexual affair. Regan, through a spokeswoman at her publishing company, declined to comment. Kerik's lawyer says Kerik knows of no such telephone call, and would describe his relationship with Regan only as "close personal friends." (Ties That Blinded Newsweek December 27, 2004 U.S. Edition )

Was it really one of Kerik's associates who told her that...?

In the same article,Rudy couldn't even talk straight about Bernie's role in his firm:

In a lengthy and candid interview with NEWSWEEK, Giuliani ....Giuliani said repeatedly that Kerik's role in the firm is very limited, representing "less than 5 percent" of its business. He also said that Kerik's position was largely limited to their joint venture, Giuliani-Kerik. "He's not part of Giuliani Partners," the former mayor said.

But at the firm's Web site, Kerik is described as a "Senior Vice President at Giuliani Partners." Giuliani later explained the discrepancy by saying: "Senior vice president of the group is what Bernie was when we started. I think that remains his title, but that's not the way we primarily relate to him. As you know, he does some work for a few of our clients." He added: "We should probably straighten it out and point out where his ownership interest is and primary work is done."

< An Unintended Consequences Case With Racial Overtones | Alberto Gonzales' Legal and Financial Woes Mount >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    My take on this is, first (none / 0) (#1)
    by scribe on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:50:09 PM EST
    I'm willing to go along with Barrett - he's possibly the most knowledgeable journalist on the Rudy-Bernie-Regan-Ailes-Fox subject.  I'll suppose/surmise that (because of status, ego, pecking order, etc. within FoxWorld) Ailes is/was possibly the only exec (outside of Murdoch) who could ask her to do what's alleged to have been asked.  Maybe someone senior at News Corp.  I dunno.  We do know at least one of the executives is male - that's the way the complaint is drafted - so that eliminates half the world.

    Second, I recall from some of the TV discussions that (in so many words) "some counts of the Bernie indictment had to have come from Regan" - stuff like the non-payment of taxes on the book royalties/book foreword, if only because she would have been the (close-to-only) person knowledgeable on the payments being sent to Bernie's hidden corporation, among other things.

    Third, we do not know whether any of the Fox executives were actually subpoenaed to appear or testified before the grand jury or, perhaps, were "encouraged" to appear without the necessity of actually receiving a subpoena, possibly through a negotiated arrangement.

    Fourth, the grand jury (and USA's office) could be relying upon Regan's suit to do their discovery vis-a-vis the Fox executives for them, which would both remove whatever procedural protections the executives might enjoy in the GJ process, and allow the civil case to go forward uninterrupted by the Fox executives claiming they cannot adequately defend themselves without the possibility of incriminating themselves.  (This latter angle does lose some force, however, as they will no doubt argue the massive publicity and the allegations in the civil suit would wake up even a cop sleeping off a weeks' worth of donuts.)

    Fifth, the allegations of the complaint as to which investigation(s) the Fox executive(s) allegedly asked her to not cooperate with/lie to are vague.  I'd suspect she's holding a few cards in reserve on this one and deliberately.

    Sixth, the US Atty's office could just be gathering wool on this one, and saving what gets shaken loose for later use.  Given what we've seen so far, I wouldn't exclude the possibility.

    Seventh, all this discussion assumes the investigations in question to which Regan refers in her complaint were federal.  They do not address the possibility that they were out of (or involved) the Manhattan DA's office (Morgenthau) or the NYPD.  That possibility (and, IIRC, there's little love lost between the Manhattan DA and Rudy Cue Ball) adds a whole new dimension to this game of Vulcan chess.

    Finally, and this is more a mechanics issue - rather than everyone try to assemble a timeline, would/might it be possible to assemble some sort of wiki-analog timeline of this, sort of like the way TPM did with the US Atty's documents?  It might help matters....