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Ex-book executive Regan settles NY legal fee suit
NEW YORK (AP) - Former book-publishing powerhouse Judith Regan has settled a fee dispute with lawyers who helped her wage a high-profile fight after she was fired amid a furor over her plan to release a book of O.J. Simpson’s hypothetical “confession” to killing his wife and a friend.
Now-bankrupt Dreier LLP and another firm, Redniss LLC, said Regan paid $125,000 but owed more for their work in her separate, $100 million lawsuit over her firing. They settled with her last week in advance of a May 12 court date.
J. Benjamin King, an attorney representing Dreier’s bankruptcy trustee, wouldn’t disclose the terms Wednesday but called the settlement “a reasonable and fair result” for Dreier creditors. Seth Redniss, whose firm Dreier had agreed to pay part of any proceeds from the case, declined to comment, and Regan’s lawyer didn’t immediately return a call about the settlement, first reported by New York magazine.
Regan is “extremely happy with the result,” said her lawyer, Robert E. Brown.
While the case was about legal fees, it made headlines this year because of political intrigue reportedly nestled within the court papers.
Some of Regan’s former lawyers said in sworn statements that Roger Ailes, chairman of Fox News, also a part of News Corp., was the previously unidentified executive whom she had claimed encouraged her to lie to federal investigators who vetted now-disgraced ex-New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik for the nation’s top homeland security job, The New York Times reported in February. The statements weren’t available in the public court file, from which some documents have been removed as confidential.
News Corp. said Regan had provided the company with a letter saying Ailes “did not intend to influence her with respect to a government investigation,” and the corporation considered the matter closed.
She settled with News Corp. in 2008, with yet another lawyer representing her.
Regan was known for bringing out provocative best-sellers, including Jose Canseco’s “Juiced” and Jenna Jameson’s “How to Make Love Like a Porn Star.” But her career faltered over her efforts to release Simpson’s “If I Did It.” She was fired in 2006, about a month after News Corp. canceled the project.
Regan’s suit said her former employers had tried to destroy her reputation _ and that she’d been told “to lie to, and to withhold information from, investigators concerning Kerik” while he was being vetted to head the federal Department of Homeland Security in 2004. News Corp. executives knew she’d had an affair with Kerik and wanted to keep her from potentially damaging the presidential ambitions of Kerik patron Rudy Giuliani, she said.
Her lawsuit didn’t identify the executive who supposedly told her to lie.
But Seth Redniss and another former Regan lawyer said in sworn statements she’d taped a conversation with Ailes that was an element of her lawsuit, and Redniss said the conversation was a discussion of “her responses to questions regarding her personal relationship with Bernard Kerik,” according to the Times’ report in February.
Meanwhile, the father of Ronald Goldman _ the friend killed with Simpson’s wife, Nicole Brown Simpson _ published Simpson’s book in 2007. Retitled “If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer,” it quickly became a New York Times best-seller.
Dreier pleaded guilty in 2009 to using impersonations and fake documents to defraud hedge funds out of more than $400 million. He’s serving a 20-year federal prison term.
Also in a federal prison is Kerik, who withdrew from consideration for the Homeland Security post as questions swirled about his finances and associations. He cited tax issues involving a former nanny as his reason for bowing out. The failed bid began a downfall that spiraled into a 2009 guilty plea to tax fraud, lying to the White House and other crimes.
Jennifer Peltz can be reached at http://twitter.com/jennpeltz
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
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