Thursday, November 15, 2007


In case you were in a coma yesterday, or more pre-occupied with the National Book Awards, here's the latest on our fearless fallen maverick, Judith Regan.

What can I possibly say that hasn't already been said by Guiliani or Jane Freidman or half the publishing bloggers on the web.

OK, here's my contribution - I couldn't make up this character, put her in a novel and get away with it. My editor would tell me she was way too over the top.

Judith Regan Sues Ex-Employer News Corp. Over Firing
Patricia Hurtado
Tue Nov 13, 9:29 PM ET

Nov. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Judith Regan, who was fired last year from News Corp.'s HarperCollins unit, sued the companies, claiming to be the victim of a ``deliberate smear campaign'' aimed at protecting presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani.

Regan, former president of HarperCollins' ReganBooks division, seeks at least $100 million in damages in a complaint filed today in state Supreme Court in New York. Regan claims in her complaint that News Corp. tried to destroy her reputation because she has information about former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik that would be harmful to ex-New York Mayor Giuliani and his presidential campaign.

``The smear campaign was necessary to advance News Corp.'s political agenda, which has long centered on protecting Rudy Giuliani's presidential ambitions,'' Regan said in the complaint.

Regan, who published Kerik's autobiography ``The Lost Son,'' was fired from HarperCollins in December 2006 after she backed O.J. Simpson's book, ``If I Did It.'' In the book, Simpson described how he could have killed his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

News Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch canceled publication of the Simpson book and a Fox broadcast special starring Simpson in November 2006, saying it was an ``ill- considered project.'' Regan's suit also names HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman as a defendant.

ReganBooks Division

Regan claims in the suit that she generated more than $1 billion in book sales for News Corp. HarperCollins shut its ReganBooks unit in January.

Howard Rubenstein, a spokesman for News Corp. said ``the claims are preposterous.'' He declined comment further on the complaint.

Maria Comella, a spokeswoman for Giuliani's campaign, declined to comment on the lawsuit. Kerik couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

In her complaint, Regan said she built a ``publishing and media juggernaut'' whose imprint sold ``tens of millions of books'' after she left Simon & Schuster to join News Corp. in 1994. She said News Corp. had a ``double standard,'' set her up as a scapegoat for the O.J. Simpson controversy, and fired her without cause, fabricating numerous stories that she was a ``disgraceful and unethical publisher.''

Murdoch ``personally'' approved of the Simpson book and suggested paying $1 million for the project, Regan claims in her suit. When the controversy erupted over the project, the defendants planted false stories in the press to discredit her, Regan said, including one allegation that she was fired because she made anti-Semitic comments and had claimed to be the victim of a ``Jewish cabal'' in the book industry.

``The charge was completely fabricated,'' Regan said in her complaint.

`Personal Relationship'

While not specifying what information she has about Kerik, who she claims had a ``personal relationship'' with her, Regan said that an unnamed News Corp. executive told her to withhold information and documents from investigators in their probe of the former police commissioner. Kerik was indicted Friday by a federal grand jury on tax evasion and conspiracy charges.

``It is now widely accepted that one of Giuliani's major political vulnerabilities is his association with Bernard Kerik,'' Regan said in her suit.

``A senior executive in the News Corp. organization told Regan that he believed she had information about Kerik that, if disclosed, would harm Giuliani's presidential campaign,'' according to the complaint. ``This executive advised Regan to lie to, and withhold information from, investigators concerning Kerik.''

Best Sellers

Regan published books about radio talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern, as well as a book about porn star Jenna Jameson. All were best sellers for either Simon & Schuster or ReganBooks, she said in the complaint.


Anonymous said...

I put absolutely nothing past Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. This election is high stakes.

Anonymous said...

from what has been mentioned on various TV News stations, Kerik and Regan had an affair during the spring and summer of 2002. They used an apartment - rented by the city and reserved for workers exhausted by their work at Ground Zero - for their romantic getaways in the city. Kerik of course was Rudy's choice for head of Homeland Security who he suggested to Bush. These days Kerik is being investigated for his ties with the mob and not paying taxes on $500,000. He and Rudy were in business together. Rudy might refuse to talk about Regan's charges now, but sooner or later he's going to have to talk about his friendship with Kerik.

bob w.

Josephine Damian said...

I pegged Judith Reagan for a sociopath after reading that Vanity Fair profile years ago - long before the Simpson book.

In that article, Kerik came across as nothing but a law-breaker, so neither of these individual's subsequent actions have surprised me.

I hope the publishing company does not cave in and settle in this lawsuit, Judy is clearly just looking to extort money from her former employer.

And anybody who grew up in NYC as I did know what Rudy's all about - his post 9/11 heroic posturing doesn't fool us.

Anonymous said...

"OK, here's my contribution - I couldn't make up this character, put her in a novel and get away with it. My editor would tell me she was way too over the top."

You're probably right, but between this and The Linda Wachner Story, it sure would be fun.

Dead Man Walking said...

With all due respect, how hard could it be to turn "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star" into a bestseller? I'd have to think Jenna Jameson's ghostwriter probably deserves more moolah than Regan.

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