Possible fed probe underway over sexual harassment cases against Fox, Ailes

Fox News chairman Roger Ailes is the target of a $30 million lawsuit from former employee Andrea Tantaros

The investigation, which has been going on for months, came to light on Wednesday after attorney Judd Burstein, who represents clients who have brought sexual harassment charges against Ailes, announced in a court hearing that one of his clients had received a subpoena relating to "alleged violations of criminal law by Fox".

According to the Wall Street Journal, a report prepared as part of an internal Fox News investigation into Ailes' conduct found that the network had created a pool of money to be used for payments to harassment claimants, but that it disguised the nature of the fund in public documents.

It was revealed that Fox News had settled other sexual harassment claims made against Ailes, including one that gave a former employee a $3.15-million payout in 2011.

Fox has been in communication with the U.S. Attorney's office for months and will continue to cooperate on all inquiries with any interested authorities, the spokeswoman said.

Fox won the issue of the day when Judge David Benjamin Cohen ruled that Tantaros' case against Ailes should go to an arbitrator, as Fox had sought.

ABC News reported that "sources familiar with the matter" confirmed Berstein's comments. "They were investigating whether Fox News violated securities laws by not reporting settlements to the Securities and Exchange Commission".

The occasion for Burstein's statements was a hearing for Tantaros's lawsuit filed last August against Fox News, Ailes and top network executives.

The former chairman resigned from the network in July 2016 after a flurry of sexual harassment allegations, including another lawsuit from former Fox host Gretchen Carlson.

"Once I saw it, I knew what was happening", Burstein said, according to the trade publication's report. Ailes has previously denied allegations of harassment.

Attorney Judd Burstein disclosed the subpoena Wednesday at a court hearing in a lawsuit filed by former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros, saying it had come from a unit at the USA attorney's office in Manhattan that handles securities law violations. In it she claims that Fox News "operated like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult".

In court filings, Fox News slammed Tantaros, saying she "is not a victim; she is an opportunist". He also declined to identify the client who received the subpoena. Luhn claimed that she had been harassed by Ailes over a period of 20 years. "It needs co-conspirators", Burstein said.

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