Women who accused former Fox News Chief Executive and Chairman Roger Ailes of sexual harassment, including former corporate and special events director Laurie Luhn and current on-air contributor Julie Roginsky, were interviewed by US Postal Inspection Service criminal investigators and prosecutors from Manhattan’s US attorney’s office.
Ailes has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing and left the company with a formidable golden parachute, though Luhn herself won a $3.15 million settlement in 2011. Luhn said that for years Ailes subjected her to "psychological torture" and even claimed that he attempted to get her father to have her placed in a psychiatric care facility against her will.
The company maintains that it was unaware of any such complaints against Ailes until July 2016, when former host Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against the 72-year-old executive, for which she won a settlement of $20 million.
Brian Lewis, once a top Ailes adviser and former Fox News communications chief, met with investigators as well after being subpoenaed.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the investigation deals chiefly with how settlements were handled and what executives helped facilitate them.
Bill O’Reilly, a top-rated former show host whose program is largely responsible for the network’s growth, recently had his show pulled from Fox News amid sexual harassment allegations that caused more than 50 advertisers to pull out of the show before it was taken off the air.
Up until that point, the company had supported O’Reilly while simultaneously paying five women a total of $13 million to settle their complaints against him.
Criminal charges could be brought against the conservative network if it is found that records of settlements and other expenditures were falsified.