Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rather Is Thrown Out of Court

No big surprise here, except that the failure of the lower court to have tossed out this lawsuit evinces the putrid state of affairs in our courts:

Appeals Court Tosses Dan Rather and His CBS Lawsuit into the Back Alley

NEW YORK – A New York court on Tuesday dismissed Dan Rather's $70 million breach of contract lawsuit against CBS Corp., noting that the network continued to pay the anchor $6 million a year even after he left the evening news broadcast.

Rather sued CBS and its top executives in 2007, claiming he had been removed from his "CBS Evening News" anchor post over a report that examined President George W. Bush's military service. The Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court — New York's trial-level court
— said the complaint "must be dismissed in its entirety. The five-judge panel ruled unanimously that a lower court should have tossed out the suit from the git-go. The court said there was no breach of contract, because CBS still paid Rather his $6 million annual salary after the disputed 2004 broadcast under the "pay or play" provision of his contract...."

Irony alert: Dan Rather got a free shot at trying to swing the 2004 Presidential Election with forged documents, and almost got a free shot with a jury to collect a $70 million reward for his troubles. Meanwhile, in a similar suit, former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin is facing a criminal trial for his alleged participation in a forged document case which was intended to dash the electoral standing of then-candidate, and now French President, Nicolas Sarkozy.

In 2004, during a corruption investigation—of the 1991 sale of frigates to Taiwan—an investigating magistrate was given bank records originating from a Luxembourg-based clearing house called Clearstream. The listings were supposed to name potential recipients of kickbacks in the frigate affair. The names included ... a handful of top politicians—including two variations on the name of then finance minister Nicolas Sarkozy. But it turned out the names on the list were fakes, added to real bank records by a fraudster in a frame-up effort.

Sarkozy, reasonably, believed the fraud was a smear campaign to block his road to the French presidency. ... One party with the motive and the opportunity, if not to add the names himself then to push for a corruption investigation when he allegedly knew the listings were fake, was Dominique de Villepin. At the time, Villepin, the dashing foreign minister who captured the world's attention and French hearts in 2003 with a speech before the United Nations in a failed effort to preempt the Iraq War, reportedly fancied his own chances for a presidential run. (Chirac named Villepin prime minister in 2005, serving until Sarkozy won the presidency in 2007.)

The trial due to conclude Oct. 23 will aim to resolve what Villepin knew, and when, and what he did with the information he had. He is charged with "complicity" in defamation and the dissemination of forged documents.

Bummer wonders, When did France become the adult of the world of peevish children?