Saturday, 27 May, 2017

Fox News under federal investigation over Ailes settlement payments

Alfredo Watts | 17 February, 2017, 01:13

In New York State Supreme Court Wednesday, the attorney for former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros, Judd Burstein, said he had been served with a subpoena from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York for another client about the claims filed against Ailes.

Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson received an undisclosed amount (believed to be US$20 million) from 21st Century Fox to settle her sexual harassment claim against Ailes personally. "He was told by the U.S. Attorney's office there is an ongoing criminal investigation, relating to these allegations, all of these allegations", according to the New York Daily News.

He said the securities unit was leading the investigation.

Fox News, in a statement, separately confirmed that it had been in touch with the U.S. Attorney's office "for months".

The U.S. attorney's office declined to comment. Tantaros is one of those.

Former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes walks with his wife Elizabeth Tilson as they leave the News Corp building on July 19, 2016 in New York City.

The claim is that the Justice Department is looking at whether Fox made confidential settlements without disclosing these to shareholders in 21st Century Fox (which include the Murdoch clan).

He said the subpoena issued by US Attorney Preet Bharara concerned "alleged violations of criminal law by Fox".

Tantaros is suing Fox and Ailes for $30 million alleging the former chairman ran "a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult".

Her accusations were followed by claims of harassment from other women, including Fox News host Andrea Tantaros.

The occasion for Burstein's statements was a hearing for Tantaros's lawsuit filed last August against Fox News, Ailes and top network executives.

"Apparently one of Mr. Burstein's other clients has received a subpoena", the spokeswoman said.

In a statement, Fox News confirmed it has "been in communication with the US attorney's office for months", and "have and will continue to cooperate on all inquiries with any interested authorities". Tantaros said on Good Morning America that Ailes "sexually harassed me numerous times".

"Once I saw it, I knew what was happening", Burstein told the Reporter. Even more so when you take into account the disgusting and empirically immoral actions that 21st Century Fox's British tabloids took in bribing victims and hacking hundreds of cell phones earlier this decade, including deleting voicemails off of a murdered 13-year-old girl's cellphone-giving her family false hope that she still may be alive.

Burstein said that prior to filing her lawsuit, Fox News had offered her a $1 million settlement.

Fox News and Ailes have denied wrongdoing.