Judge: Rather’s Lawyers Can Subpoena CBS’ Investigator - Broadcasting & Cable

Judge: Rather’s Lawyers Can Subpoena CBS’ Investigator

Dan Rather's Lawyers Given OK to Subpoena Erik Rigler in $70M Suit vs. CBS
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The judge in Dan Rather's $70 million suit against CBS gave his lawyers the go-ahead to subpoena Erik Rigler, the investigator CBS used to try to verify the subsequently disputed documents on President George W. Bush's service in the National Guard during Vietnam.

Rigler’s investigation and the subsequent report authored by Richard Thornburgh and Louis Boccardi essentially laid the blame for the 60 Minutes II segment about Bush’s Guard service on the broadcast’s producers, not Rather, noting, “Surprisingly, Rather did not attend any of the pre-air screenings” of the segment.

Rather’s individual claims against Viacom head Sumner Redstone, CBS chief Leslie Moonves and former CBS News president Andrew Heyward were dismissed two weeks ago.

But the judge allowed the case to go forward on two main points: whether CBS News violated Rather’s contract by underutilizing him on 60 Minutes after he was forced to step down as anchor of the CBS Evening News and whether the investigation into the National Guard report was a valid investigation.

In limiting discovery to those two main points, both sides claimed a victory of sorts.

"We are gratified that the judge has significantly limited the scope of discovery to matters still pending before the court,” CBS News said in a statement. “We are also pleased that the court affirmed its dismissal of the fraud claim. We will contest any attempts by Mr. Rather to recast this claim, and we are confident that we will prevail.”

"The court’s rulings make clear that Mr. Rather’s lawsuit following the court’s April 10 opinion is not just a 'garden-variety contract claim,' as CBS previously announced," Rather's lead counsel, Martin Gold, said in a statement.

"We are gratified that the judge has significantly limited the scope of discovery to matters still pending before the court,” CBS News said in a statement. “We are also pleased that the court affirmed its dismissal of the fraud claim. We will contest any attempts by Mr. Rather to recast this claim, and we are confident that we will prevail.”

Both sides expect to be in front of the judge for another status meeting in July.

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