MANHATTAN (CN) – Judith Regan claims HarperCollins, News Corporation and HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman conspired to defame and fire her as publisher of ReganBooks to advance News Corp.’s political agenda, which includes promoting Rudy Giuliani as Republican candidate for president. Regan was fired after the brouhaha involving O.J. Simpson’s book, “If I Did It.” She claims top officers at News Corp. ordered her to lie to federal investigators about her affair with Bernard Kerik, to protect the presidential aspirations of Kerik’s friend and business partner, Giuliani.
Regan’s 75-page filing in New York County Court claims she was guaranteed her job until 2009; that the defendants set her up “as the scapegoat for the OJ Controversy as part of their smear campaign,” though top officers in News Corp., including Rupert Murdoch, approved the OJ book.
She claims they “fabricate(d) a controversy about a ‘pornographic’ Mickey Mantle novel” as part of their conspiracy to defame her.
She claims they defamed her by falsely claiming to the world that she had made anti-Semitic comments about a “Jewish cabal.”
“This smear campaign was necessary to advance News Corp.’s political agenda, which has long centered on protecting Rudy Giuliani’s presidential ambitions,” Regan states in the first paragraph of her complaint.
Kerik has been indicted on 16 federal counts of corruption. He had an affair with Regan, allegedly in a taxpayer-supplied apartment overlooking the ruins of the World Trade Centers, while he was New York City Police Commissioner.
Regan claims, “a senior executive in the News Corp. organization told Regan that he believed she had information about Kerik that, if disclosed, would harm Giuliani’s presidential campaign. This executive advised Regan to lie to, and to withhold information from, investigators concerning Kerik. Indeed, another News Corp. executive similarly advised Regan not to produce clearly relevant documents in connection with the government’s investigation of Kerik. Thus, because of the damaging information that defendants believed Regan possessed, defendants knew they would be protecting Giuliani if they could preemptively discredit her.”
Regan claims that after the defendants had “laid the groundwork” to defame her, “Using News Corp.’s New York Post and Fox News Channel, their own employees, ‘unnamed insiders’, and additional foot soldiers, including those at outside news organizations and publicity firms, defendants falsely cast Regan as an unethical businesswoman devoid of any integrity, who was solely to blame for the OJ controversy.”
Regan wants $100 million. She is represented by Brian Kerr with Dreier LLP. See complaint.