November 14, 2007

"I don't know anything about it. And, it sounds to me like a kind of gossip column story more than a real story."

Rudy Giuliani brushes off a question about Judith Regan's $100 million lawsuit against HarperCollins. Can anyone understand the lawsuit?
Regan... says that "it is now widely accepted" that one of Giuliani's vulnerabilities is the 52-year-old Kerik. Because of Regan's affair with Kerik, court papers say, a senior executive at News Corp., HarperCollins' parent company, told her he believed she had information about Kerik that could hurt Giuliani's campaign and she should lie to federal investigators.

She also contends another executive told her to withhold documents that were relevant to the government's investigation of Kerik, and court papers say that HarperCollins and News Corp. "knew they would be protecting Giuliani if they could preemptively discredit her."
I mean, can anyone understand this lawsuit other than as a way to get publicity for an attack on Giuliani? What's the legal claim?

ADDED: Here's the PDF of the complaint. The claims are mostly for defamation, for what executives at HarperCollins said about her when she was fired, plus claims for breach of contract, breach of the duty of fair dealing, sex discrimination, retaliation. Most of the controversy seems unrelated to Kerik and Giuliani. Here's how the Smoking Gun sums it up:
Judith Regan, the volcanic publishing industry figure who sought to publish O.J. Simpson's "I Did It" (and trysted with Bernard Kerik in an apartment overlooking Ground Zero) today sued Rupert Murdoch's media conglomerate for defamation, claiming that she was unjustly tarred as an anti-Semite when fired last year.... According to Regan, Murdoch employees were aware of her personal relationship with Kerik and, fearing she had damaging information on Giuliani's former police commissioner and business partner, "knew they would be protecting Giuliani if they could preemptively discredit her." The Murdoch firms did this, Regan charges, by claiming she made anti-Semitic statements during a phone conversation with a HarperCollins lawyer.

73 comments:

AJ Lynch said...

Come on Ann - since when do you need to understand a claim? it's a money grab just like the Imus suit.

Ann Althouse said...

Imus had an employment contract under which he was owed money. His claim was breach of contract because he was fired in violation of the terms of the contract (which we could read). Did Regan have a contract? What were the terms? It seems as though she was fired because of that horrible OJ Simpson book. That's got nothing to do with Giuliani. It doesn't connect up.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

If it doesn't connect, you must not dissect.

AJ Lynch said...

Come one - Regan had to have had some sort of written agreement - even it was scrawled on a bar napkin. She was head of an entire book division for cripessake.

Ann Althouse said...

If you bring a frivolous lawsuit, you can be sanctioned.

MadisonMan said...

If you don't know the claim on which the suit is based, how can you intimate that the suit is frivolous?

I've read one article on the suit -- apparently the Kerik thing is just a sidelight -- that's really about her being let go in the light of the OJ book. So her corporate overlords spread a lot of lies about her to ease her way out the door once they all realized what a doofus move publishing the book was.

Ann Althouse said...

Most people are subject to firing and not entitled to a term of years. Or, if there is a contract, the normal thing to do would be to negiotiate the terms of ending it.

Clarence D. said...

At most law schools one would learn that to understand the cause of action one looks at, uh, the complaint!

But in Annie-Land, a newspaper article will do just fine. And then what do you know, the cause of action is sometimes unclear.

Gee professor, why don't you read the actual complaint before talking about Rule 11 sanctions?

Ann Althouse said...

"If you don't know the claim on which the suit is based, how can you intimate that the suit is frivolous?"

I was responding to AJ, who seems to think you don't need anything to bring a lawsuit. In my post, I'm asking what the claim is.

Ann Althouse said...

I don't have a link to the complaint. I'm reading news articles and finding them singularly uninformative. I'm asking if anyone knows the basis of the complain. If you do, why don't you tell us?

I'll read something more if you give me the link.

MM: "...her corporate overlords spread a lot of lies about her to ease her way out the door once they all realized what a doofus move publishing the book was."

So it's defamation?

AF said...

The complaint is here:
http://www.thesmokinggun.com/graphics/pdf/reganvhc.pdf

AF said...

sorry, make that http://www.thesmokinggun.com/graphics/pdf/reganvhc.pdf

MadisonMan said...

I think an interesting aspect of this suit is that it's being attacked by Giuliani as frivolous. Giuliani has to do that; otherwise he is forced to talk about Kerik. Giuliani's attack makes the suit look ridiculous -- you're suing because you had to lie about an affair with Kerik? Win-win for him: He doesn't have to talk about his pal Bernie, and he establishes the meme that even talking about it is ridiculous! But the forced lie is just one very minor thing in a list that Regan says she was forced to do. I wonder if she now regrets including it in the brief.

AF said...

ferchrissakes. add a ".pdf" at the end of the above URL.

amba said...

Page 9 of the complaint is headed "Regan's Guaranteed Employment Agreement Through 2009." The heart of the argument is that she was terminated without cause, in violation of her contract, and then defamed a) to justify the firing and b) because News Corp. has a political agenda to protect Giuliani (which may be beyond the scope, eh?). NewsCorp of course counters that she hasn't got a leg to stand on. However, she threatened quite a while ago to take down Giuliani, claiming that he and Kerik discussed "sketchy" things in her presence as if she wasn't there. (Sorry to self-link, but the original TNR article by Thomas Edsall seems to be no longer online. This post quotes chunks of it. Find or scroll down to "Icky friends.")

amba said...

I meant to add, that would only be a sideshow to the lawsuit. It is not the main point, but is the small point of greatest concern to the media and the future.

John Stodder said...

Regan's suit is here.

The Guiliani/Kerik stuff reads like a press release for one of her client's oooks. To believe it, you'd have to believe the News Corp was lying in wait since 2001 to spring the OJ debacle on her in order to silence her about Kerik to protect Rudy. You'd have to believe this despite the fact that News corp re-upped her contract in 2005 and supported her highly publicized move to LA. You'd have to believe that, absent a covert campaign to discredit her, nobody would've had a problem with the OJ book.

The headline "Regan Silenced" is much sexier bait for the blogosphere than "Regan says Fox Execs Went Along with Harebrained Scheme to Make Money Off OJ." She's clever, gotta give her that. The Guiliani angle gets all the headlines, even though it is extremely fuzzy in the suit (she never names the executive in whom she confided about Kerik), and irrelevant to its merits anyway.

Luckyoldson said...

Ann asks: "Did Regan have a contract? What were the terms?"

Well, isn't that what one would find out during a trial or during the lead-up to a trial or a negotiated settlement?

Do you think she doesn't have an attorney and is just taking a run at this without legal advice or direction?

Based on what I've read about her, especially considering her experience in the publishing industry, it would surprise me if she didn't have something to base this on.

We'll see...

Tituspk said...

NYC is filled with interesting characters and Rudy is surrounded by his fair share. In my opinion this makes him intersting.

Not sure how the rest of the country will react.

These characters will be coming out of the woodwork throughout Rudy's entire campaign as well as potential presidency. New Yorkers are accustomed to all this and have seen it all.

Not sure what "real world heartland America" will think. But it will be fun.

Maxine Weiss said...

Nobody says "frivolous action" anymore....it's "Vexatious litigant"

"Mental cruelty" is a valid cause of action.

I know this stuff.

Revenant said...

Why would Rupert Murdoch cares if Regan had damaging information on Giuliani? Is he a Giuliani fan?

I guess one could argue that Fox is conservative and Rudy's a Republican and so on, but there are plenty of conservatives who would LOVE to find good dirt on Rudy. His opponents in the primaries, for example. Rudy's not very conservative.

Luckyoldson said...

Revenant said..."Why would Rupert Murdoch cares if Regan had damaging information on Giuliani? Is he a Giuliani fan?"

You're kidding, right?

Roger Ailes and Rudy go way, way back and Roger and Murdoch go way, way back.

christopher said...

C'mon -- is there anybody here that seriously doesn't believe that this story is true?

Revenant said...

is there anybody here that seriously doesn't believe that this story is true?

HarperCollins fires a top editor without cause... because she has "damaging information" on a politician who is a friend of a friend of the guy who controls the company that owns HarperCollins?

I doubt there's anyone here who believes that the story IS true, you included. Mind you, I fully expect you to keep saying you think it is true, because hey -- you're you.

christopher said...


I doubt there's anyone here who believes that the story IS true, you included. Mind you, I fully expect you to keep saying you think it is true, because hey -- you're you.


You really haven't been paying attention to current events in the last decade or so, have you?

Of course it's true...it's exactly the kind of scumbaggery that Murdoch/Fox/Ailes et al would engage in...

JohnAnnArbor said...

Of course it's true...it's exactly the kind of scumbaggery that Murdoch/Fox/Ailes et al would engage in...

Just because it suits your prejudices doesn't make it either true or false.

christopher said...

Village Voice reporter and Guiliani biographer Wayne Barrett just said that the Feds indictment includes info they could only have gotten from Regan, and that Roger Ailes is unquestionably the exec Regan's talking about.

The whole thing's totally true.

God, I'm loving this...

John Stodder said...

To believe Regan's claim, you have to take a big step over the heaping pile of dung that was her deal to publish OJ's "If I Did It" in 2006.

She is alleging the scheme to shut her up started in 2001, based solely on her say-so that an executive was aware of her affair with Kerik. At that moment, she alleges, a "covert plan" was launched to discredit her in order to protect Rudy, although she offers zero proof of this.

Despite this plan, Regan claims Murdoch kept her on board, agreed with her plan to expand her publishing empire to Los Angeles, and re-upped her contract in 2005 at substantially more money. They only fired her after the huge nationwide embarrassment of the OJ book.

The Occam's razor explanation for her firing is this: The corporation wanted her to take the fall for the OJ book so as to insulate other executives closer to Murdoch and Murdoch himself from their deserved share of the blame for greenlighting this awful idea.

It seems to me like she's got a decent breach of contract case just on the facts around the OJ book alone. But she doesn't just want money, she wants to recover her battered reputation. And that's why she drops the Guiliani bomb. To sucker in people like LOS and christopher, along with half the press and all the left blogosphere.

Judith Regan, anti-Republican hero, suits her ego and her future earnings a lot better than Judith Regan, the idiot who thought publishing OJ was a good idea, talked her bosses into it, and then was made to walk the plank for them.

christopher said...

To sucker in people like LOS and christopher, along with half the press and all the left blogosphere.

Sleep well.

Heh heh..

Luckyoldson said...

Stoddard says: "Judith Regan, anti-Republican hero..."

Regan is a liberal??

What do you base this on??

christopher said...

Luckyoldson said...

Stoddard says: "Judith Regan, anti-Republican hero..."

Regan is a liberal??

What do you base this on??


The trembling of his sphincter.

Luckyoldson said...

Stoddard,
You think the Regan story is some kind of "left blogosphere" story?

What do YOU read??

Revenant said...

Village Voice reporter and Guiliani biographer Wayne Barrett just said that the Feds indictment includes info they could only have gotten from Regan

Undoubtedly they did. That's not the silly part of the story.

The silly part is, of course, where we're asked to believe that she was fired as part of some five-year Republican-Murdochian conspiracy to prop up Rudy Giuliani -- and not for, say, causing the most embarrassing publishing fiasco since The Hitler Diaries.

God, I'm loving this...

Yeah, yeah. I'll file it between "Karl Rove's getting indicted" and "Joe Lieberman's going down" in my record of Premature Lefty Gloating. :)

Mutaman said...

Let's see if I got this straight:

The taxpayers of New York City were paying $6,000. per month to rent an apartment so the rescue workers at ground zero would have a place to rest and relax? Then Bernard Kerick takes over the apartment so he can screw Regan and his other mistress while his wife is pregnant? And this is the guy Rudy Giuliani appointed police commissioner, made his business partner, and advocated to be head of Homeland Security? And Guiliani is the guy Ann Althouse is supporting to be president?

Am i missing anything here?

christopher said...

And Guiliani is the guy Ann Althouse is supporting to be president?

Am i missing anything here?


Ann's not a liberal?

christopher said...


Yeah, yeah. I'll file it between "Karl Rove's getting indicted" and "Joe Lieberman's going down" in my record of Premature Lefty Gloating. :)


You're so right. There's no way a deeply principled guy like Roger Ailes would ever ask somebody to lie to the Feds...

Hee hee....

John Stodder said...

Tweedledum and Tweedledee,

My point, which unsurprisingly escaped you both, was that Judith gets much better publicity among left-sympathetic media outlets for making the Guiliani claims in her suit than she would otherwise.

When Judith Regan was fired, she was fired in disgrace. Most of us remember that her firing was completely due to her insensitive, blundering decision to publish a book by OJ Simpson. But you morons with short memories are falling for her new line: It wasn't about OJ, it was .... a Fox News conspiracy! To protect... a Republican! Yeah, that's the ticket!

The fact is, true or not, the Guiliani claims are offered without any evidence, and anyway are incidental to her basic legal issue.

Regan names a dozen executives in her complaint, but she does not name the executive she claims she told about Kerik in 2001, and who allegedly told her to lie in 2004. Why not? Especially if it's Ailes, why not? She clearly wants people to guess Ailes, which Wayne Barrett has already done, but if it isn't Ailes, she's not responsible for libeling him.

Her lawyers' answer as to why her complaint withheld this name, which if disclosed would give the media someone to confirm the story is sheer gobbledegook.

I can smell the b.s. To you guys it smells like...victory.

As for Regan's politics, here's what she stands for: Blah blah blah blah blah money! She published Rush Limbaugh. Boo hiss. She published Michael Moore. Yay! She published Sean Hannity and Neal Cavuto. Boo hiss. She published Joe Trippi and Arriana Huffington. Yay!

By gulling the mainstream media into thinking her firing was about something other than OJ, she gets to continue making money. If the soundbite of her career becomes "the one who published OJ," she's finished. Her PR plan depends on gullibility and short memories. Which pretty much describes christopher and LOS.

Luckyoldson said...

Stoddard,
She lived with and screwed Kirik.

Are you saying Rudy and Kerik are liberals??

christopher said...


I can smell the b.s. To you guys it smells like...victory.


You're right...Roger Ailes is an honorable man who would never under any circumstances ask somebody to lie to the Feds to keep a bud from blowing an election.

Could never happen....

Luckyoldson said...

Stoddard,
YOU know the specific details of the Regan suit?

Based on what??

Luckyoldson said...

Stoddard,
How old are you?

Revenant said...

And Guiliani is the guy Ann Althouse is supporting to be president?

He is? Since when?

Don't get me wrong -- I'd be pleased as punch if she DID support him for President. But I don't recall her saying that she did.

Revenant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

There's no way a deeply principled guy like Roger Ailes would ever ask somebody to lie to the Feds...

I don't know if Ailes would do that sort of thing or not. But hey, let's assume he did. Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that he asked her to lie to the investigators.

Um... and? It still takes a complete lack of common sense to think that her failure to lie is what got her fired. What, Ailes called up Rupert Murdoch and said "hey, Rupe old buddy, I'd like you to keep this Regan bitch around for the next five years, renew her contract, and then fire her. She's been dissing Rudy Giuliani, that guy you and most other conservatives think is way too liberal. Yeah I know she makes you hundreds of millions of dollars, but we're buddies, right? Do it for ol' Rog, ok?".

This theory makes sense to you, does it? Interesting.

christopher said...


Um... and? It still takes a complete lack of common sense to think that her failure to lie is what got her fired


I have no idea what got her fired. I thoroughly believe that Ailes asked her to lie, however, and I'll bet dollars to donuts she's got it on tape.

Hee hee....

Revenant said...

I have no idea what got her fired. I thoroughly believe that Ailes asked her to lie, however, and I'll bet dollars to donuts she's got it on tape.

Hee hee....

Oh, well if that's all you're giggling about then hey -- go nuts. I couldn't care less what happens to Regan or Ailes.

christopher said...


Oh, well if that's all you're giggling about then hey -- go nuts. I couldn't care less what happens to Regan or Ailes.


But it'll make Rudy look sooooooo good.

As Michael Kinsely famously said when Reagan got caught selling arms to the Ayatollah and using the proceeds to fund the Contras:

Hah. Hah. Hah.

Revenant said...

Interestingly, Fox News is not only covering the Kerik scandal -- and Regan's lawsuit -- but inviting Giuliani's political opponents on to explain how the whole thing demostrates Rudy's bad judgment. This Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy stuff sure is complicated! Ailes can get Harper-Collins to fire its leading editor, but he can't keep his hosts from lobbing softball questions to Rudy's political enemies?

Hm, he must have been out of town that week rigging electronic voting machines for the next election. All VRWC members have to do that for two weekends a year. Its like being in the National Guard.

jeff said...

I think chris and lucky are just reliving their fond memories of when Rove was frog marched out of the White House for revealing a covert agent. You remember that, right? Hee hee.

jeff said...

"All VRWC members have to do that for two weekends a year. Its like being in the National Guard."

Some of us who are a bit more dedicated put in a full four weekends a year.

Hee Hee

Luckyoldson said...

jeff,
You're nothing more than a right wing suckass.

But you already know that.

*Oh, and you're a lying sack of shit, too.

But you already know that.

John Stodder said...

christopher said...


Um... and? It still takes a complete lack of common sense to think that her failure to lie is what got her fired

I have no idea what got her fired.


Really?

"If I Did It," by O.J. Simpson? Remember that? Regan was the one who wanted to publish it.

You have to get that basic fact in your mind before even considering the case.

And yes, I've read her suit. It's online, and I linked to it on a post above this one.

jeff said...

""but inviting Giuliani's political opponents on to explain how the whole thing demostrates Rudy's bad judgment. This Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy stuff sure is complicated!"

I don't know revenant. It looks like the VRWC is using this to get Richardson out of the race. I followed the link and man, is that guy out of touch. Maybe the idea is to use this as an excuse to get him as much publicity as possible to keep him from the vp position. Sneaky right wing bastards.

Revenant said...

God, I'm loving this
Sleep well
Heh heh
Hee hee
Hee hee
sooooooo good.
Hah. Hah. Hah.

Must... stop... flesh... from... crawling...

Anyway, Chris, you've assumed not only (a) that Regan is telling the truth about being strong-armed (despite clearly making up the story about a conspiracy to fire her for it), but (b) that Ailes did it (c) to protect Rudy Giuliani and (d) that Regan, for some unknown reason, happened to tape the conversation and secretly hold onto it for five years? Good grief. Fantasy's all well and good, but if you keep this up you're going to go blind. Just fantisize about boning Angelina Jolie like a normal person would.

As Michael Kinsely famously said when Reagan got caught selling arms to the Ayatollah and using the proceeds to fund the Contras

Given that Reagan remains the most popular and successful President in living memory and Michael Kinsley has been reduced to writing columns for Time Magazine, I'd have to say the laughter was a teensy bit premature that time around too. :)

Luckyoldson said...

Stoddard: ""If I Did It," by O.J. Simpson? Remember that? Regan was the one who wanted to publish it."

And it was published and has already had more printed and put into publication.

Are you saying you think this is the ONLY reason she was fired, and that YOU know she has no case???

Based on WHAT??

Luckyoldson said...

rev says: "Chris, you've assumed not only (a) that Regan is telling the truth about being strong-armed .."

And YOU base it NOT happening...on WHAT?

jeff said...

Lucky, I used to think you were kind of like the retarded kid with tourettes syndrome and that's why people put up with you here. Now I see your the small kid with the big mouth that people put up with because they would look like the bully if they didn't, and so that little kid is deluded that he is as big and smart as everyone else. It occurs to me that I wouldn't put up with someone like you in real life, I would have popped you in the mouth long ago.
You add nothing to the conversation. You refuse to support any position. You refuse to give any reason why someone else's position is wrong.
You misrepresent, you're dishonest in your arguments and you throw insults and charges from the safety of your anonymous id.
You just fling poo hoping you get some on the carpet. As many people have pointed out, there is no point in engaging you. So fling away. I will stick with the adults.

Luckyoldson said...

Rev says: "Given that Reagan remains the most popular and successful President in living memory..."


End-of Presidency Job Approval Ratings

Bill Clinton (2001) 65%
Ronald Reagan (1989) 64
Dwight Eisenhower (1961) 59
John F. Kennedy (1963) 63
George Bush (1993) 56
Gerald Ford (1977) 53
Lyndon Johnson (1969) 49
Jimmy Carter (1981) 34
Richard Nixon (1974) 24

Job Approval of Postwar Presidents
Approve Disapprove
John F. Kennedy 70% 17
Dwight Eisenhower 65 21
George Bush 63 33
Ronald Reagan 57 39
Bill Clinton 57 39
Lyndon Johnson 56 31

christopher said...

Given that Reagan remains the most popular...

ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

jeff said...

The best part about this going to trial is that all this conspiracy stuff will either come out or put to rest. Or if your dream doesn't come true, will that just be part of the larger conspiracy ?

christopher said...

Are you saying you think this is the ONLY reason she was fired, and that YOU know she has no case???

Based on WHAT??


Gas emanating from his posterior...

Luckyoldson said...

Jeff,
I could care less what you think. You sound like someone with few if any real life experiences.

You've lied over and over again about things you say I've posted, yet offer no proof of such.

I've never liked dealing with liars, and that's exactly what you are.

No balls, no integrity, no intellect.

*Aand again: Why no profile, chickenshit?

Luckyoldson said...

rev says: "Chris, you've assumed not only (a) that Regan is telling the truth about being strong-armed .."

And YOU base it NOT happening...on WHAT?

Luckyoldson said...

Stoddard / Rev:

McCain, Romney Slam Rudy Over Allegations That News Corp Protected Him

John Stodder said...

Are you saying you think this is the ONLY reason she was fired, and that YOU know she has no case???

Based on WHAT??


I didn't say anything of the kind.

Read it over again, dimwit. I actually said I thought she had a case. She did not publish the OJ book in isolation, and that part of what she's saying I get.

It's the side-issue of Regan, her love affair with Kerik, Kerik's connection with Rudy, and this unnamed executive's supposed threats to Regan that I'm questioning. I don't think it strengthens her case legally, so I ask myself, "Why is it there?"

We all can guess. I think my guess is correct, but it's still just a guess. I've been around PR long enough and have followed her career long enough to know that she is a smart PR lady, smart marketer, and by inserting this allegation in the lawsuit, she has effectively flipped the script. The disgraceful decision to publish the OJ book, which is the core of her suit, is in paragraph 10.

Is her charge relating to Kerik and Guiliani believable? Is it legitimate? I have my doubts. But no question, it was a brilliant PR move.

You got fooled by it, for example. Although, frankly, you don't set a very high bar. Any bad thing someone says about a politician you don't like, you immediately believe and begin to argue for as if it's a fact.

But she's also taken in most of the mainstream media, if you look at the headlines the suit is getting.

I'll bet she's already planning a book on it. It'll sell millions.

P.S. Yes, the OJ book has been published. You know the story, right? Murdoch's company gave up the rights, the father of one of OJ's victims secured the rights in court, and now he's published it as a way of getting some of the money he's owed from his civil suit against OJ. The new cover of the book deemphasizes the "if" in "If I Did It."

It proves, I guess, that Regan was right. You could make money selling more OJ bullshit to the public. The question was appropriateness and taste, not whether it was a profitable idea.

Luckyoldson said...

John Stodder said..."I didn't say anything of the kind...."

YOU didn't?

What exactly did you mean by this?

"Really?

"If I Did It," by O.J. Simpson? Remember that? Regan was the one who wanted to publish it."

You weren't implying this was the reason??

As you would say: REALLY?

Luckyoldson said...

Stoddard says: "It proves, I guess, that Regan was right. You could make money selling more OJ bullshit to the public. The question was appropriateness and taste,"

You actually believe it was "appropriateness and taste"...that resulted in the decision to not publish...in a Rupert Murdoch / News Corp. publication???

REALLY??

Luckyoldson said...

Jeffrey,
Back into his dark cave.

Chickenshit.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

She lived with and screwed Kirik.

Are you saying Rudy and Kerik are liberals??


I don't know, Lucky. If you screw a sheep will you grow wool?

Simon said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...
"[Quoting another poster] Are you saying Rudy and Kerik are liberals??"

More to the point, is Kirk a liberal? I'm inclined to think that all that gung-ho adventurism and gunboat diplomacy would make him a neoconservative.

Roger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger said...

Given the arrival of some new commenters on this board, does anyone else miss the irrepressible HD House? Come back, HD! we need you.

Luckyoldson said...

Dust Bunny,
Yeah...Rudy and Kerik are flaming liberals.

Are you brain dead?