NY judge rejects parts of Rather suit against CBS
By Edith Honan
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York state judge threw out parts of Dan Rather's $70 million lawsuit against CBS on Thursday, but preserved several key elements, including the former news anchor's breach of contract claim.
State Supreme Court Judge Ira Gammerman dismissed Rather's fraud claim, saying he was too late in filing it, and rejected Rather's charge that CBS executives damaged his future job prospects, saying Rather could not support the claim.
The judge let stand the portion of the suit in which Rather says the network breached his contract by not giving him enough on-air assignments after he was removed as anchor of the "CBS Evening News" in March 2005, following a scandal over a report on U.S. President George W. Bush's military record.
CBS later acknowledged that documents used in the report, which aired on September 8, 2004, could not be authenticated. CBS aired the report two months before the presidential election pitting Bush against Democratic challenger John Kerry.
In September 2007, Rather sued CBS, Chief Executive Leslie Moonves, Viacom Inc, Viacom Chief Executive Sumner Redstone and Andrew Heyward, former head of CBS News, claiming he had been made a scapegoat to "pacify the White House."
CBS was part of Viacom until the firms split in 2006.
Rather kept reporting for the weekly news program "60 Minutes," but was dumped by CBS in June 2006 after 44 years with the network. He had spent 24 years as anchor of its flagship news program.
Martin Gold, Rather's lawyer, said the judge's decision left in place the essence of Rather's lawsuit against CBS and Viacom, including contract and tort claims. Continued...