aside What’s The Real Reason US Attorney Preet Bharara Was Fired?

Preet Bharara (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

There has been tons of media speculation as to why our republican President Donald Trump’s administration decided to fire the highly regarded, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara especially considering that the president had personally asked him to stay on in his current position.

For awhile the media pundits were thinking that maybe the president had been listening to his favorite FOX TV personality, Sean Hannity who had been suggesting that President Trump should immediately fire any US attorneys who are holdovers from the prior democratic President Barack Obama’s administration.

But it seems that one plausible reason for this firing is because it was Attorney Preet Bharara’s office which was assigned to probe Fox News over its alleged failure to inform shareholders (SEC) about repeated settlements for allegations of sexual harassment and assault by former Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes and other executives against female employees. In addition, there is scuttlebutt that the president’s team may be looking to replace the imminently able Mr. Bharara with one of Mr. Ailes’ former lawyers.Image result for PHOTOS OF SEAN HANNITY

This is the Fox guarding the Hen House… 

On 3/12/17 Zachary Pleat of MediaMatters penned the following expose, “US Attorney Preet Bharara Was Investigating Fox News When Trump Fired Him.”

Excerpts:

“Ailes Left Fox News Amid Flurry Of Sexual Harassment Allegations. In early July, former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson sued the network’s CEO and Chairman Roger Ailes for sexual harassment. Carlson’s attorney told The Washington Post that 25 women had “come forward with what they describe as similar harassment claims against Ailes that stretch across five decades back to his days in the 1960s as a young television producer.”

“21st Century Fox tasked a law firm with conducting a review of Ailes’ conduct and “the initial findings were damaging enough that the Murdochs decided they had to escort Ailes out,” according to CNN’s Brian Stelter. New York national affairs editor Gabriel Sherman reported that sources briefed on the investigation said former Fox News host Megyn Kelly told investigators that Ailes had also sexually harassed her. (The Washington Post, 7/22/16; CNN, The Lead with Jake Tapper, 7/21/16; New York, 7/19/16)”

Image result for photos of Gretchen Carlson
Gretchen Carlson

“Fox’s Culture Of Sexual Harassment Extends Beyond Ailes. The New York Times reported on July 23 that Fox News may have “a broader problem in the workplace,” that extends beyond Ailes after at least “a dozen women” told the Times that “they had experienced some form of sexual harassment or intimidation at Fox News or the Fox Business Network, and half a dozen more who said they had witnessed it. Two of them cited Mr. Ailes and the rest cited other supervisors.” (The New York Times, 7/23/16)”

“Fox Recently Settled With Former Contributor Over Sexual Assault Allegation That Resulted In Executive’s Firing. The New York Times recently reported that Fox settled with former network contributor Tamara Holder in February for more than $2.5 million after the said she was sexually assaulted by an executive at the company’s headquarters two years ago. The Times reported that Fox “investigated her claims, and the executive, Francisco Cortés, the vice president for Fox News Latino, was terminated, according to two people familiar with the matter.” (The New York Times, 3/8/17)”

Image result for photos of megyn kelly
Megyn Kelly

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara Was Investigating Fox Over Sexual Harassment Settlements

CNNMoney: “Fox News Under Federal Investigation Over Ailes Settlement Payments.” CNN senior media reporter Dylan Byers reported on February 15 that the Justice Department had for months been investigating Fox News over failing to inform shareholders about settlements with employees who had pressed charges against Ailes for sexual harassment:

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether Fox News failed to inform shareholders about settlements made with employees who charged former chairman and CEO Roger Ailes with sexual harassment, a source with knowledge of the matter told CNNMoney.

[…]Image result for cartoons on roger ailes

On Wednesday afternoon, a Fox News spokesperson acknowledged that Fox News had been in communication with the U.S. Attorney’s office but did not specify if the network was the subject of the investigation.

On Wednesday night, however, a source with knowledge of the matter confirmed that Fox News was the subject of the investigation. The settlements in question date back several years, the source said. (CNNMoney, 2/15/17)

Image result for photos of Andrea Tantaros
Andrea Tantaros

ABC News: Preet Bharara’s “Office Is Conducting A Criminal Investigation Into Fox News.” ABC News reported that Preet Bharara’s office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of NY, which includes much of New York City where 21st Century Fox is headquartered, was “conducting a criminal investigation into Fox News.” From the February 15 article:

The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office is conducting a criminal investigation into Fox News, an attorney involved and other sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

Judd Burstein, an attorney representing former Fox News personality Andrea Tantaros, said during a hearing today that one of his clients received a subpoena to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the use of corporate resources in connection with sexual harassment allegations against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and Fox News parent company 21st Century Fox.

Burstein said the subpoena didn’t involve Tantaros but a different client, whom he did not name.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara declined to comment.

Fox News responded, saying in a statement, “Neither Fox News nor 21st Century Fox has received a subpoena, but we have been in communication with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for months — we have and will continue to cooperate on all inquiries with interested authorities.” [ABC News, 2/15/17]

Image result for photos of Judd Burstein
Judd Burstein

“The Hollywood Reporter: Former Fox Host Andrea Tantaros’ Attorney Suggested Fox Settled Multiple Harassment Lawsuits Without Reporting Them In SEC Filings. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a lawyer representing former Outnumbered host Andrea Tantaros, one of the Fox employees suing over sexual harassment, said he received a subpoena from federal investigators requesting testimony from another Fox client, which he said meant Fox had settled multiple lawsuits without reporting them in its SEC filings. From the February 15 article:”

On Wednesday, during a hearing regarding former Fox News personality Andrea Tantaros’ lawsuit against network executives before New York Supreme Court Judge David Benjamin Cohen, an attorney for Tantaros said he’d been served with a subpoena by federal prosecutors investigating sexual harassment allegations directed at Ailes. Tantaros, who once served as a co-host of the afternoon show The Five, alleges in her lawsuit that Fox News “operated like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult.”

Tantaros’ attorney Judd Burstein said he received the subpoena from federal investigators at the Department of Justice’s New York Southern District, which is run by Preet Bharara, who with much fanfare was asked by President Donald Trump to stay on as a U.S. Attorney after aggressively prosecuting top government officials in New York as well as Wall Street veterans for insider trading.

The subpoena, he said, arrived two days ago. It apparently requests testimony from his client before a grand jury. (Burstein didn’t identify the client. Burstein previously represented Ailes’ former right-hand man, Brian Lewis, who, before coming to a settlement of his own, raised the specter of explosive revelations.)

“Once I saw that it was the securities prosecutors I understood immediately what was going on here, which is that what Fox has done is enter into agreement, after agreement, after agreement, with victims of sexual harassment, not reported them in any of their SEC filings,” Burstein said.

Burstein appears to believe that the issue is related to the way Fox has been structuring settlements and keeping recipients as employees to avoid reporting obligations under securities law.Image result for cartoons on roger ailes

An attorney for Fox News, Andrew J. Levander, told the judge that his client hasn’t received a subpoena and characterized Burstein’s impromptu comments in open court as “beyond the pale.” A later statement from a Fox News spokesperson (see below) acknowledged, however, that the company has been “in communication with the U.S. Attorney’s office for months.”

[…]

The company’s spokesperson has released the following statement: “The court granted Fox News’ motion to send Andrea Tantaros’ case to arbitration, where it always belonged, and rejected her counsel Judd Burstein’s histrionics. Apparently one of Mr. Burstein’s other clients has received a subpoena. Neither Fox News nor 21CF has received a subpoena, but we have been in communication with the U.S. Attorney’s office for months — we have and will continue to cooperate on all inquiries with interested authorities.” (The Hollywood Reporter, 2/15/17)Image result for cartoons on roger ailes

Bharara Agreed To Remain As U.S. Attorney After Meeting Trump In November. As The Washington Times reported, Bharara met with President Donald Trump in late November and “confirmed he accepted Mr. Trump’s offer to stay on the job.” Then Sen. Jeff Sessions, whom Trump had nominated to serve as his attorney general, also asked Bharara to stay in the job. From the November 30 article:

Mr. Bharara, who was appointed by President Obama, confirmed that he accepted Mr. Trump’s offer to stay on the job after a meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan.

“The president-elect asked — presumably because he’s a New Yorker and is aware of the great work that our office has done over the past seven years — asked to meet with me to discuss whether or not I’d be prepared to stay on as the United States attorney to do the work we have done, independently, without fear or favor for the last seven years,” he told reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower.

[…]

He said that he has already spoken to Sen. Jeff Sessions, whom Mr. Trump nominated for attorney general, about continuing to serve as U.S. attorney.

“He also asked that I stay on, and so I expect that I will be continuing to work at the southern district,” Mr. Bharara said. (The Washington Times, 11/30/16)

Attorney General Sessions Then Asked All Obama-Era U.S. Attorneys, Including Bharara, To Resign. On March 10, Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked all 46 U.S. attorneys remaining from the Obama administration to resign. (Los Angeles Times, 3/10/17)

Bharara Agreed To Remain As U.S. Attorney After Meeting Trump In November. As The Washington Times reported, Bharara met with President Donald Trump in late November and “confirmed he accepted Mr. Trump’s offer to stay on the job.” Then Sen. Jeff Sessions, whom Trump had nominated to serve as his attorney general, also asked Bharara to stay in the job. From the November 30 article:

“Mr. Bharara, who was appointed by President Obama, confirmed that he accepted Mr. Trump’s offer to stay on the job after a meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan.”

“The president-elect asked — presumably because he’s a New Yorker and is aware of the great work that our office has done over the past seven years — asked to meet with me to discuss whether or not I’d be prepared to stay on as the United States attorney to do the work we have done, independently, without fear or favor for the last seven years,” he told reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower.”

[…]

“He said that he has already spoken to Sen. Jeff Sessions, whom Mr. Trump nominated for attorney general, about continuing to serve as U.S. attorney.

“He also asked that I stay on, and so I expect that I will be continuing to work at the southern district,” Mr. Bharara said. [The Washington Times, 11/30/16]”

Bharara Was Fired After Refusing To Resign. The Associated Press reported that after refusing to resign at the request of Sessions, Bharara was instead fired from his position as a U.S. attorney. (The Associated Press, 3/11/17; Twitter, 3/11/17)Image result for cartoons on roger ailes

NY Times: A “Pending Investigation” Of Bharara’s Appears To Focus On How Fox News Structured Settlements Of Claims Brought By Network Employees.” The New York Times reported on March 10 that it was “unclear what effect (Bharara’s) departure might have” on his office’s ongoing investigations g, including a “pending investigation [that] appears to focus on how Fox News structured settlements of claims brought by network employees.” (The New York Times, 3/10/17)

Trump May Replace Bharara With Former Ailes Lawyer Who Helped Him With Harassment Damage Control

Bloomberg: New York Lawyers Speculate Marc Mukasey Will Be Nominated To Replace Bharara. Bloomberg reported on March 11 that “speculation is already building for who will be nominated by Trump as a permanent replacement” for Bharara and that “Many suggest it will be Marc Mukasey, a lawyer at Greenberg Traurig LLP with close ties to former New York Mayor and sometime Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani.” (Bloomberg, 3/11/17)Image result for photo of Marc Mukasey

New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman: Bharara’s Firing “Ignited Speculation That It Was Designed To Blunt Investigations Like The Fox News Probe.” In a March 12 article, Gabriel Sherman, who has reported extensively about Ailes and Fox News, wrote that Bharara’s firing could be a “win” for Fox News executive chairman Rupert Murdoch because “the prospect of indictments” in Bharara’s investigation of Fox was “a serious problem” for the network. From the report:

Trump’s decision to fire Bharara ignited speculation that it was designed to blunt investigations like the Fox News probe. In November, Trump had promised Bharara he could remain in the job. But on Friday, he reversed course and requested Bharara’s resignation along with 45 other Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys. (Adding to the intrigue, Trump’s prosecutor purge came less than 24 hours after Sean Hannity said on Fox News that Trump should “purge” the Justice Department of Obama-appointed officials.)

Given that Fox News is Murdoch’s most profitable division, the prospect of indictments is a serious problem. “They’re really worried,” one source close to the network said. Another insider said that Fox News executives considered the investigation “political” because Bharara had been appointed by Barack Obama. Which is why, for Murdoch, it must be a relief that Bharara’s replacement could be an ally. According to the Times, Trump’s shortlist to replace Bharara includes Marc Mukasey — who just happens to be former Fox News chief Roger Ailes’s personal lawyer.

Considering Mukasey’s close relationship with Ailes, he would surely come under pressure to recuse himself from the Fox News probe if he was appointed by Trump to succeed Bharara. “I have no comment,” Mukasey said when I reached him Sunday evening.” (New York magazine, 3/12/17)

Sherman: Mukasey Was Part Of Ailes’ Legal Team. Sherman tweeted on March 11 that Mukasey previously worked as part of Ailes’ legal team and that he had labeled Sherman as a “virus” for his work in uncovering sexual harassment and assault allegations at Fox:

Shortlist to replace Bharara includes Ailes’s onetime lawyer Marc Mukasey. Wonder what happens to that Fox probe?https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/nyregion/preet-bharara-us-attorney.

Photo published for With Preet Bharara’s Dismissal, Storied Office Loses Its Top Fighter

With Preet Bharara’s Dismissal, Storied Office Loses Its Top Fighter

Under his leadership, the Southern District of New York, known for its fierce independence, took on Wall Street power players, politicians and terrorists.

mobile.nytimes.com

11 comments

    • Dear Keith,

      It took one brave woman, Gretchen Carlson to blow the whistle to start this ball rolling where Roger Ailes was exposed for the pervert that he is. But it looks like the whole culture was sick.

      My personal opinion is that there is something more to the story because when DT asked Preet Bharara to stay on, the Fox News story was known. I suspect that there was a back door deal negotiated between Rupert Murdoch and DT. Or there is another piece of the puzzle still missing. It tells me something if DT picks Roger Ailes personal attorney to replace Mr. Bharara.

      Ciao, Gronda

        • Dear Keith,

          Another piece of the puzzle has been uncovered by Rachel Maddow. It seems that the Deutsche Bank has been successfully sued by the State of New York for laundering Russian dirty money. But the federal government is also pursuing a claim to the tune of billions of dollars. Guess who was in charge of this case? The answer is Preet Bharara.

          DT messed up on this one. As Rachel Maddow was saying, Mr. Bharara didn’t buy himself some extra time by demanding to be fired for nothing. He is one smart man. He knew what he was doing and the show he orchestrated wasn’t just for publicity.

          Incidentally, this is the bank where DT supposedly owes the most monies.

          As for the FOX News story, there is a Federal grand jury hearing already scheduled and it is the FOX former Chief Financial Officer, Mark Kranz who was let go of after Roger Ailes who will be testifying v FOX and he does not have a positive viewpoint towards his former employer.

          Hugs, Gronda

        • Now, that is an interesting twist. Shall we bring up his tax returns again? As John McCain said Sunday, there are more shoes to drop on this centipede.

  1. While Lil King Donnie tRump has the right to dismiss this group of people, I find it amazing that after asking this man to stay on, he backed up and fired him after several thing occurred. The first I am sure is to protect his friend Rupert Murdoch and his empire, and the second is because last week he received a request from several watchdog groups to investigate some possibly illegal acts or actions of the King and his businesses! In normal times he would have used a little discretion in the termination of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, however in normal tRump style he just used his reality show temperament and simply said “Your Fired”. I don’t suspect for even a New York second that he considered that anyone would even notice his ignorance for doing so. This mans history if full of acts similar to this, back in his tower, he had a reputation for not paying his bills and when people complained he would sue them. I know that a lot of the King tRump supporters are not what could be considered educated, however what would possibly cause them to blind them selves to the history of this man? If it quacks like a duck, has feathers like a duck and looks just like a duck, it would seem that people would realize it is a duck! Oh my, how I miss Richard Nixon, at least he was a crook with a little class!

  2. Dear Crustyolemothman,

    DT gave a lot of folks hope and eventually the hard working folks who are not part of the Alt-right, will figure out that they were duped.

    It will be incumbent for Democrats and those who did not vote for DT to step up to give these folks hope based on reality.

    We need to stick together to force the congress representatives to do what is right.

    Ciao, Gronda

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