According to CNN, the Department of Justice will get help from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in its probe into Fox News Channel management and way of conducting business. Reportedly, Fox News workers have been interviewed by representatives from both agencies in recent weeks.
CNN said it has the info from four separate sources who agreed to talk on the condition of the anonymity. Fox News declined to comment, while the DOJ and USPIS couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
Probe of Fox News Deepening
Rumors that the feds were silently conducting a probe into Fox News surfaced in February when the attorney of one of ex-CEO Roger Ailes’ accusers said federal prosecutors were going after the network about the settlements Fox had paid to several plaintiffs to drop their sexual harassment charges against the media mogul.
In February, the DOJ refused to confirm the probe. Fox News was also unusually silent, but it unveiled, though, that it had been in months-long talks with U.S. Attorney’s office. At the time, the news channel added that it would cooperate with federal authorities on “all inquiries.” Meanwhile, CNN confirmed the investigation, but it released no further details.
Since then, the probe may have gotten deeper to include other people and business practices since the DOJ co-opted the USPIS.
In February, the attorney that first hinted a federal probe involving Fox may be ongoing said his client, Andrea Tantaros, was subpoenaed by the feds. Tantaros had sued Ailes for sexually harassing her and claimed that the top management ran the network as a “sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult.”
Back then, Tantaros’ attorney said the probe could be into whether Fox News fully reported the settlement payments to Securities and Exchange Commission and its investors. In a 2017 filing with the regulatory body, Fox News said $35 million last year were directed to “settlements of pending and potential litigations” related to Ailes.
Other Ailes Victims
Ailes left the network in July, while Tantaros sued him a month later. Tantaros decided to sue after another Fox News host, Gretchen Carlson, had filed a public complaint of sexual harassment. Carlson alleged the former chief executive declined to renew her contract after she turned down his sexual advances.
Carlson’s case settled, and she received $20 million in hush money. Ailes never confirmed the allegations, but he left the network with $40 million in his pocket.
Tantaros’ lawsuit was deferred to arbitration. Fox News now claim they suspended her for publishing a book without their approval. They also said she never mentioned Ailes and his behavior in an internal investigation into her claims.
Megyn Kelly, who left Fox earlier this year for NBC, said Ailes harassed her too. She wrote about the experience in her memoir Settle for More.
This month, another contributor, Julie Roginsky sued the network, alleging she couldn’t get any promotions after she refused to sleep with Ailes. In March, the network paid contributor Tamara Holder $2.5 million to drop sexual harassment charges against Fox News Latino VP Francisco Cortes.
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