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Bill O’Reilly Cannot Suppress Evidence in Former Fox News Employees’ Defamation Lawsuit

Rebecca Gomez Diamond, Andrea Mackris and Rachel Witlieb Bernstein Win Against O’Reilly Attempt to Seal Court Documents

New York City, April 4, 2018 – For the first time, facts about settlement terms Bill O’Reilly forced on former Fox News employees Rebecca Gomez Diamond and Andrea Mackris, (who are suing O’Reilly with Rachel Witlieb Bernstein) have come to light, as a Federal Judge has ruled that documents in the women’s defamation lawsuit against O’Reilly and Fox News can be seen by the public.

In a denial of O’Reilly’s motion to seal the women’s settlement agreements, Judge Deborah A. Batts of the United States District Court for the Southern District of NY, today affirmed that the public has a First Amendment right to documents submitted to the Court that are not mitigated by O’Reilly’s “celebrity status”.

“…the public should be able to see what judicial document the Court relied on in issuing its Opinion,” wrote Batts in her opinion, issued today.

“Defendant O’Reilly has not even come close to rebutting this First Amendment presumption,” Batts wrote. “A possibility of future adverse impact on employment or the celebrity status of a party is not a ‘higher value’ sufficient to overcome the presumption of access to judicial documents.”

“After the onslaught of harassment and defamation by Bill O’Reilly, it is vital that the public hear the truth and see some of the evidence,” said Neil Mullin, Esq., who with Nancy Erika Smith, Esq., of the Montclair, N.J. law firm Smith Mullin, filed papers opposing the motion by O’Reilly to have the women’s case dismissed or, failing that, have their claims arbitrated in secret.

Among the shocking facts revealed in the unredacted briefs are:

  • Ms. Mackris’ lawyer changed sides — agreeing to become O’Reilly’s lawyer while he was negotiating Ms. Mackris’ departure Agreement
  • “The Mackris Agreement acknowledges that Fox News investigator Bo Dietl (and others) surveilled, investigated and amassed information about Ms. Mackris, including tapes, photographs, emails, letters, calendars and diaries.”
  • The joint statement included in the Mackris Agreement on which O’Reilly’s motion to dismiss relies forced Mackris to claim that nothing wrongful had occurred
  • Bernstein was required to return to Fox videotaped evidence of abuse she suffered in Fox News studios and/or offices at the hand of Bill O’Reilly, even as she was forced to attest as part of the agreement that she had recovered from work-related injuries.
  • Among the excessive terms of the confidentiality agreement is that Diamond could not reveal the fact of O’Reilly’s payoff even to her tax advisor unless the advisor signed an Non-Disclosure Agreement. Diamond acknowledges only sharing information about the settlement with her spouse. O’Reilly claims to have told no one.

“After smearing Ms. Mackris in the press, and frightening her with surveillance and bullying, defendant Fox News settled Ms. Mackris’s legal claims with the stipulation that she remain silent about O’Reilly’s harassment and leave Fox News,” according to the unredacted brief filed by the women who are opposing the efforts of O’Reilly and Fox to force the case into secret arbitration.

For the better part of a year, Bill O’Reilly railed against these women, repeatedly insisting that they were conducting a “politically and financially motivated” “smear” campaign against him, while in truth, he insisted in settlement agreements that any evidence against him be destroyed, said Mullin.

“O’Reilly repeatedly spoke publicly about ‘shocking evidence’ and ‘proof’ he had that our clients are liars — and Fox News Chairman Rupert Murdoch called their claims ‘nonsense’ — all the while knowing that they had forced the plaintiffs to turn over or destroy video and audiotape evidence of his harassment!” said Smith.

“With this decision,” said Smith, “the public can finally see how ridiculously over-reaching and unethical settlement agreements can deny women their most basic rights, including forcing them to lie under oath.”

“Should the demand for arbitration be denied by the Court, we will have a public trial and show the lengths to which Fox and its executives were willing to go to protect their “star” abuser,” said Mullin.

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About Smith Mullin:

Smith Mullin is a nationally recognized law firm based in Montclair, New Jersey. The attorneys at Smith Mullin represent employees who are victims of discrimination based on age, sex, race, national origin, marital status, religion, veteran’s status, sexual orientation or handicap. The firm also represents victims of retaliation for their blowing the whistle on employer misconduct, or objecting to discrimination or retaliation.