Report: Fox Sex Settlement Probe Expands to Second Agency

Roger Ailes attends the Carnegie Hall 125th Season Opening Night Gala at Carnegie Hall on October 7, 2015 in New York City.
(Photo: Andrew Toth)

The United States Postal Inspection Service has joined the Department of Justice in a federal probe of Fox News’ business practices and management, according to a report on CNN late Thursday.

Investigators from both agencies conducted interviews in recent weeks with current and former Fox staff members, the CNN report said, citing four unnamed sources familiar with the investigation.

A spokesman for 21st Century Fox declined comment.

The Justice Department and USPIS were not immediately available for comment.

The investigation originally came to light in February, after an attorney representing a plaintiff said federal prosecutors were investigating 21st Century Fox over settlements it paid to individuals who filed sexual harassment suits against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes.

At that time, neither Fox nor the DOJ confirmed an investigation. However, in a statement Fox said it had been in communication with the U.S. Attorney’s office “for months” and would “continue to cooperate on all inquiries with any interested authorities.”

Subsequently, CNN confirmed Fox was the subject of an investigation, citing a person familiar with the matter. Since then, the probe may have deepened, to include possible misconduct by Fox News personnel and the work environment at the network.

In February, the attorney, Judd Burstein, said one of his clients who were suing Fox for sexual harassment had been served a subpoena as part of an criminal investigation into the allegations. Burstein had previously represented former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros, who alleged that Ailes and other executives ran Fox News as “a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult.”

At the time, Burstein said the probe could be into whether Fox might have violated federal securities law because settlement offers might not have been fully disclosed in Fox’s SEC filings.

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