UPDATE: 3:50 pm, 5/5/17): Additional details have emerged in a Washington Post article. Specifically, a $3.15 million payment to Laurie Luhn from when she left the company and ended her affair with Roger Files has been deemed suspicious because the check was signed by “a corporate executive based in Los Angeles who had no direct involvement with Fox News.”
In other words: The concern is that the payment was shifted to another Fox division to keep it off of Fox News’ books.
Federal investigators are taking a deeper look into various alleged improprieties at Fox News, according to a Thursday night report from the Wall Street Journal. Both U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigators and the securities unit of the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan) are investigating.
The ostensible subjects of the investigation are how the settlements of sexual harassment lawsuits were accounted for on the public company’s books as well as the lengths that network founder Roger Ailes went in investigating and/or intimidating accusers. The accusers include Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky and former executive Laurie Luhn.
If Fox News was shown to have hidden settlements on its books as some other kind of expenses, the network could be in violation of securities laws that mandate accurate record-keeping of financial information. Fox says it’s cooperating with the investigation.
While the sexual harassment allegations are not surprising at this point, per se, one of Luhn’s allegations most certainly is. She claims that former co-president Bill Shine, who resigned last week, called her father to compel him to forcibly commit her to a psychiatric hospital in Texas.
The use of private investigator Bo Dietl to look into “the backgrounds of people perceived to be a threat to either Mr. Ailes or the channel” is also being examined. Dietl told WSJ that he was used for two different sexual harassment cases, which is notable because he had previously told New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman “several times” that he had never done PI work for Ailes.
Bo Dietl told me several times he "never" did PI work for Ailes, but admits it in WSJ interview.
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) May 5, 2017