Attorneys for former CBS News anchor Dan Rather filed an amended fraud complaint Wednesday in New York against CBS, detailing the alleged damage to his reputation caused by his longtime employers.
The amended complaint, filed after a judge rejected the original fraud allegations in Rather’s $70 million lawsuit against the network, provides several examples of the indignities he suffered in the wake of the flawed National Guard story that precipitated his early retirement from the CBS Evening News.
The complaint contends that Rather, through his agent Richard Leibner, was in contact with several networks including Fox, HBO, A&E, History Channel, National Geographic and Discovery (where Ted Koppel eventually landed after retiring from ABC News), about post-CBS News employment opportunities. However, each network balked over Rather’s “baggage.”
“For example,” the complaint states, “while Mr. Rather had met a high ranking executive from [A&E] at a party and was told that he was interested in hiring Mr. Rather, when Mr. Leibner followed up, he was advised that Mr. Rather ‘had too much baggage.’”
The complaint points out that Rather’s situation after leaving CBS News “stands in sharp contrast to other television personalities of similar or lesser stature, all of whom were given substantial contracts in the latter years of their careers, even when operating in a limited capacity.”
The complaint sites Tom Brokaw's contract with NBC News, which keeps him on the payroll as a correspondent and documentary producer through 2014 and Koppel’s contract with Discovery.
“Mr. Rather is trying to put forth fraud complaints that the court has already determined to be legally unfounded," CBS News said in a statement. “We believe he will fail a second time. We will file an appropriate motion to dismiss.”
In a statement, Rather said, “In essence, the Amended Complaint provides specific detail in support of the fraud claim. I continue to stay focused on the big picture and look forward to getting to the truth. We need to ensure that politics and profits don’t come before the public trust in America’s newsrooms."