Dan Rather’s $70 million lawsuit against CBS heated up in a Manhattan court on Wednesday as his lawyers sought to have several key documents in the case made public.
Rather’s lead attorney Marty Gold asked Justice Ira Gammerman to release the documents, arguing that they would help refute CBS’s public characterization of Rather’s claims in the suit as a fantasy, the New York Observer reported.
Gold said that Rather would like to give the public access to about 10 of the thousands of documents handed over by CBS.
But Gammerman rebuffed the effort, saying he considered the request to release the documents a distraction and ruling that he would continue to uphold the network’s request to keep the documents out of the public eye.
“We think the cat’s already out of the bag,” said Gold.
Gammerman responded: “We can close the bag now.”
The justice also noted that the documents will be made public if the case goes to trial later this year.
Rather claims CBS breached his contract by not giving him enough on-air assignments after he was removed as anchor of the "CBS Evening News" in March 2005, following a scandal over a report on U.S. President George W. Bush's military record.
CBS later acknowledged that documents used in the report, which aired on September 8, 2004, could not be authenticated.
In September 2007, Rather sued CBS, Chief Executive Leslie Moonves, Viacom Inc., Viacom Chief Executive Sumner Redstone, and Andrew Heyward, former head of CBS News, claiming he had been made a scapegoat to "pacify the White House."
CBS was part of Viacom until the firms split in 2006.
Rather kept reporting for the weekly news program "60 Minutes," but was dumped by CBS in June 2006 after 44 years with the network.
Also in court on Wednesday, CBS’ attorneys objected to Rather’s request that Sumner Redstone should be deposed in the case.
However, Gammerman said he was inclined to order the deposition of Redstone, but would wait until other depositions had been taken before ruling on CBS’ objection.
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