How Bill O'Reilly silenced his accusers

How Bill O'Reilly silenced his accusers

The ruling will bring to light the settlement agreements the women made with O'Reilly to keep their allegations quiet.

The publication of the settlement agreements came in a defamation lawsuit filed against O'Reilly by Andrea Mackris, Rebecca Gomez Diamond, and Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, three women who reached settlements with the former Fox News host.

"Notably, the agreement requires Ms. Mackris to lie - even in legal proceedings or under oath - if any evidence becomes public, by calling valid evidence "counterfeit" or 'forgeries, '" their attorney Neil Mullin wrote in a 25-page memo.

During the settlement for that case, her attorney, Benedict Morelli, reportedly switched sides and agreed to work as O'Reilly's lawyer.

Judge Deborah Batts of NY ruled on Tuesday that O'Reilly "failed to present compelling countervailing factors" that would overrule public access to the documents, CNN reported Wednesday.

Batts said the "possibility of future adverse impact" on O'Reilly's career or "celebrity status" was not enough to "overcome the presumption of access to judicial documents". Failure to do so meant that she would have to return all monies received under the agreement plus payment of O'Reilly's legal fees.

"We worked extremely hard to secure a significant financial settlement for her (Mackris)", he said.


Late a year ago, former Fox News junior producer Rachel Witlieb Bernstein brought the lawsuit that led to the ruling, accusing "The O'Reilly Factor" host of defamation when he denied the revelations that sank his show.

Bill O'Reilly played dirty when he negotiated a multimillion dollar settlement with Andrea Mackris over claims he tormented her with graphic sex talk, including a loofah sponge shower fantasy, blockbuster new filings in a pending lawsuit claim. Mackris' current attorney describes the arrangement as a "profoundly unethical conflict". All three asserted that they were smeared in various public statements by O'Reilly, Fox News and the network's parent company, 21st Century Fox.

O'Reilly's attorney Andrew Bourne, from the Manhattan office of Hoguet Newman Regal & Kenney, did not immediately respond to an email request for comment after business hours.

O'Reilly responded to the report by attacking the New York Times for "maliciously smearing" him by publishing information that was "out of context, false, defamatory, and obviously created to embarrass Bill O'Reilly".

The agreements forced all three women to provide all "audio recordings, written materials..., computer files, backup dates, and any and all other data compilations" to O'Reilly.

The agreements, including a $3.25 million settlement with Diamond, also confirm the previously reported detail that O'Reilly tapped private investigators to dig up dirt on Mackris (presumably to be used against her) and that, as part of the settlement, the investigators agreed to destroy that information. In Wittlieb's case, Fox News kept her on its payroll, at $1364.95 a week, for 18 months after terminating her employment in July 2002.

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