Murdoch boss told executive to lie to Feds, then paid her $11M

Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes

The accidental release of US Court records has revealed that key Rupert Murdoch henchman Roger E. Ailes encouraged a senior Newscorp Executive to lie to Federal investigators.

Just about the time News of the World executives were hacking into the celebrity world’s mobile phone user messaging services during 2006,  publishing phenomenon Judith Regan was fired by HarperCollins – a Murdoch company. Regan had been engaged in a long-standing sexual affair with the former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik. In contesting her dismissal as wrongful, Regan testified that in 2004, a senior Newscorp executive had encouraged her to lie to federal investigators about the affair, in order to protect Newscorp’s influence – as Kerik was about to be nominated as Secretary of Homeland Security.

But now, affidavits filed in a separate lawsuit have revealed the identity of the previously unnamed executive as Roger Ailes – the Chairman of Fox News. The documents state that Ms. Regan (in classic Newscorp style) taped the telephone call from Mr. Ailes in which Mr. Ailes discussed the cover-up of her relationship with Mr. Kerik.

At the time (early 2007) News Corporation moved quickly to settle Ms. Regan’s lawsuit, paying her nearly $11 million in a confidential settlement reached within two months of her filing the wrongful dismissal case. Sadly for Rupert Murdoch, that confidentiality has now been breached. (The affidavit was only made public because of a court oversight).

There are shades in this of the payout to FA officials in the UK, as well as to Max Clifford – the Newscorp-hacked publicist who got £750,000 simply by telling the NoW he was going to sue.

But the desire to influence and corrupt at the highest level is more than a shade: it is a dark shadow that follows the Newscorp style wherever it is allowed to practice.

The Slog will continue to ask two questions in relation to the proposed Newscorp takeover of BSkyB:

1. How on earth can culture secretary Jeremy Hunt even consider Newscorp as a credible holder of increased market share of the UK television market – let alone delay the takeover’s referral to the MMC?

2. Why is it only the Guardian and Independent newspapers who continue to persist in the investigation of phone-hacking by UK media titles? Do the others have something to hide? In particular, are the recently arrived Daily Telegraph news staff keen to hide what they got up to when employed by the Daily Mail?