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November 14, 2007

Judith Regan Sues NewsCorp for $100 Million, Alleging "Pressure" To Hide Her Affair With Kerik From Investigators In Order to "Protect Giuliani"

And Drudge's header claims she has "damning audiotapes," too.

Bullshit? Trumped up to get a bigger settlement? Or does this damage NewsCorp?

And does it damage Giuliani? I don't see any firm allegation that Giuliani had anything to do with this or even knew of NewsCorp's alleged efforts to "protect" him, but obviously he stood to benefit from this, if true.

Judith Regan, the former book publisher, says in a lawsuit filed yesterday protesting her dismissal by the News Corporation, the media conglomerate, that a senior executive there encouraged her to lie to federal investigators about her past affair with Bernard B. Kerik after he had been nominated to become homeland security secretary in late 2004.

Bernard B. Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner, after a court appearance in White Plains last week.

The lawsuit asserts that the News Corporation executive wanted to protect the presidential aspirations of Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Kerik’s mentor, who had appointed him New York City police commissioner and had recommended him for the federal post.

Ms. Regan makes the charge at the start of a 70-page filing that seeks $100 million in damages for what she says was a campaign to smear and discredit her by her bosses at HarperCollins and its parent company, News Corporation, after her project to publish a book with O. J. Simpson was abandoned amid a storm of protest.

In the civil complaint filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Ms. Regan says the company has long sought to promote Mr. Giuliani’s ambitions. But the lawsuit does not elaborate on that charge, identify the executive who she says pressured her to mislead investigators, or offer details to support her claim.

In fact, the allegation about the executive makes up a small part of a much broader array of claims about what she says was her improper removal from a job atop one of the more commercially successful book publishing operations.

“Defendants were well aware that Regan had a personal relationship with Kerik,” the complaint says. “In fact, a senior executive in the News Corporation 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.”


Ms. Regan was fired on Dec. 15, 2006, after a month of withering publicity surrounding her plan to publish a hypothetical confession of O. J. Simpson to the murders of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald L. Goldman. The release of the book, “If I Did It,” was to be tied to the broadcasting of Ms. Regan’s interview of Mr. Simpson on Fox.

A second book, a novel that imagined drunken and lascivious escapades by Mickey Mantle, drew another round of outrage.

At the time, Rupert Murdoch, the head of News Corporation, called the Simpson book “ill considered.” Ms. Regan was fired and her imprint shut down after a HarperCollins lawyer, Mark Jackson, claimed she had used an anti-Semitic remark in describing the internal campaign to fire her as a “Jewish cabal.”

It seems like some bullshit to me for a simple reason: The gravamen of her charge is that she was improperly fired. Fine. But this whole business of firing her and discrediting her in order to protect Giuliani seems unlikely -- didn't they have more plausible reasons for all this? She seems to want to pretend the whole OJ book thing was really no big deal and just a pretext to can her -- and it seems to me she's only bringing up a tangential issue to put the screws to Murdoch.

Was she pressured? Possibly. But possibly just by a Giuliani supporting executive acting on his own -- organizations have within them strong partisans that don't reflect any sort of company line.

I also note the deadliness of the charge made against her, of her supposedly blaming her woes on a "Jewish cabal." Such talk can be a career ender, and of course it sure would be helpful to her future career opportunities to allege some large political conspiracy to frame her for a bit of casual anti-semitic animus.

Eh. Let's hear these daming tapes, Ms. Regan.

Oh: I'm having trouble buying the allegation that she was "pressured" by an executive at NewsCorp, given the likelihood that Regan, no matter what her formal rank in the corporate order, was probably more powerful and rich than most of the company executives nominally superior to her.

She was a superstar editor, getting some of the biggest catches in the industry -- Limbaugh and Howard Stern, for two. She was a celebrity and had her own talk show (I think on Fox) for a while; she had a high profile and, unlike most executives, could easily arrange television interviews to fight back against anyone wronging her.

And she had what Howard Stern used to term "fuck you money" -- enough in the bank that one could, if one's bosses became unbearable, tell one's employers to go fuck themselves sideways and take an unscheduled, but fairly comfortable, early retirement.

How exactly does one pressure a rich, famous superstar, exactly? By threatening to fire her? Hah. She would have had a big contract somewhere else before the week was out.

That's why, I suppose, her lawsuit alleges this stuff about destroying her career through lies and such. Because otherwise what the hell kind of case does she have?

It seems she's basically alleging that, in order to discredit her and thus protect Giuliani, Rupert Murdoch somehow Jedi Mind Tricked her into inking a deal with OJ Simpson which would ultimately cause a firestorm of revulsion and providing the perfect pretext for her firing and her becoming persona non grata among publishing houses.

Really? He can do that? He's a Sith now, Judith?

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posted by Ace at 01:53 PM

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