Former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly had filed a motion to seal his past harassment settlements in a defamation case filed against him, but a federal judge ruled against his request on Tuesday.
According to a report published by The Hill, Judge Deborah Batts of New York ruled that O’Reilly “failed to present compelling countervailing factors” which would overrule public access to the documents, saying O’Reilly “has not even come close to rebutting this First Amendment presumption” that favors releasing the documents.
O’Reilly was ousted from Fox News after it was revealed that he had paid out a $32 million sexual harassment settlement. He has denied the allegations made against him.
The Hill reported:
Andrea Mackris, Rebecca Gomez Diamond and Rachel Witlieb Bernstein say in their lawsuit that O’Reiley, Fox News and 21st Century Fox smeared them by calling them liars and extortionists regarding their claims of sexual misconduct against the former host.
The ruling will bring to light the settlement agreements the women made with O’Reilly to keep their allegations quiet.
CNN reported Wednesday that Mackris’s settlement required her to “lie — even in legal proceedings or under oath — if any evidence becomes public, by calling evidence ‘counterfeit’ or ‘forgeries.’”
The former Fox News producer filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against O’Reilly in 2004.
During the settlement for that case, her attorney, Benedict Morelli, reportedly switched sides and agreed to work as O’Reilly’s lawyer.
“This profoundly unethical conflict left Ms. Mackris virtually without legal counsel,” the filing said.
The three women said in Wednesday’s court documents that they were “forced to relinquish audio and video tapes recording O’Reilly’s harassment and abuse.”
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