Judith Regan Settles Lawsuit That Threatened to Implicate Ailes

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Photo: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

In February, the Times had a shocking revelation: According to court papers, former HarperCollins editrix Judith Regan alleged that Fox News Chief Roger Ailes to encouraged her to lie about her relationship to Bernie Kerik when asked by Bush administration officials who were vetting Kerik to head the Homeland Security Department. Regan had reportedly made tapes of the conversations, in which Ailes was trying to help his good friend Rudy Giuliani avoid an embarrassing public episode as he mounted a presidential run. For a hot minute, it seemed like Ailes could face legal fallout for allegedly trying to encourage someone to lie to federal officials, but the story quickly faded from view.

When Regan was fired from News Corp. in 2007, she later settled with Murdoch for $10.75 million, an amount that was presumably designed to make the whole matter go away. One of the issues likely involved in extracting such a golden severance was Regan's intimate knowledge of Ailes's political activities, which she allegedly captured on tape.

But the matter burst back into public this winter, when details of Ailes's conversation with Regan surfaced in court papers as part of a separate lawsuit that Regan had been fighting since 2008. In 2007, shortly before she received a $10.75 million wrongful-termination settlement from News Corp., Regan had fired her lawyers at convicted Ponzi-schemer Marc Dreier's firm. When Dreier's firm imploded, lawyers representing the bankruptcy sued Regan to force her to cough up the legal fees they claimed she owed the firm.

Now, after more than two years of negotiations, Regan has reached a settlement with lawyers for the Dreier bankruptcy. "We settled before the Roger Ailes article," Regan told me. "Everyone has reached a settlement agreement in the fall. The papers were not completely signed, they had been drafted."

Last month, both parties decided to lay down arms and end the litigation. "We did settle," Ben King, a lawyer working for the Dreier estate told me. "We believe it was a fair result for the estate."

Regan's lawyer Robert Brown told me that Regan had pushed for the settlement.
“After she finished her NBC pilot, she told me she had a hot new boyfriend and didn’t want to waste any more time with the cockroaches in court and [wanted to] settle it and get it over with," Brown said. "So I did."

The Dreier lawyers were seeking millions, but Regan says she settled for only a fraction of that amount. Regan told me she was happy with the outcome, and this being Judith Regan, she had a few choice words for Dreier. "Marc is a world-class criminal. I accused him of forgery before he was arrested. Do you think I paid them millions of dollars? Not a chance," she told me. "I’m very happy with the settlement."

Related: Roger Ailes Is the Fox News Exec Judith Regan Claimed Ordered Her to Lie to Feds