That federal investigation came under the leadership of Preet Bharara, who was fired over the weekend from his post as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, a job that involves oversight of Wall Street and the media titans of New York. And according to New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, the probe is “looking at a number of potential crimes, including whether Fox News executives broke laws by allegedly obtaining journalists’ phone records or committed mail and wire fraud by hiding financial settlements paid to women who accused Roger Ailes of sexual harassment.” One possible candidate to replace Bharara, reports the New York Times, is Marc Mukasey, who has represented Ailes himself.
As Sherman pursued a number of stories last year about the Ailes scandal, Mukasey himself supplied a colorful bit of media criticism to the Daily Beast: “Gabe Sherman is a virus, and is too small to exist on his own, and has obviously attached himself to the Ailes family to try to suck the life out of them,” said Mukasey in comments to the website.
Last year, Burstein told this blog that he expected to sue Fox News on behalf of former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros “based upon her right to seek damages as the victim of violations of certain federal criminal laws having nothing to do with sexual harassment, etc. The cloud of secrecy surrounding the 14th floor will be replaced by the sunlight of litigation.” That 14th floor was the locus of a so-called “black room” where Ailes’s people allegedly carried out PR and surveillance operations against his detractors.
No matter who takes over for Bharara, the fate of the probe into Fox News will be closely followed.
21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, had no comment on the matter.