This post remains incomplete, and will be finished over the next few days. A year later, this post remains unfinished.)
THE IMAGE OF THE DESIRED JAPANESE
INTERMISSION: I PLAY THE BUSINESSMAN
The impetus of this post was to find a conspiracy which equals that of Rising Sun, entirely real, and entirely on native soil. We perhaps have found this very thing by following the life of Anthony Pellicano. Rising Sun the book, and to a far lesser degree the movie, present an invasion with the Japanese as alien invader, a secret force that somehow has co-opted the press, the police, the law, where corporate surveillance is everywhere. We have already seen all these elements in play by tracing the life of the now imprisoned detective. The tabloid press is a supposedly ruthless weapon, with the Enquirer braying endlessly on breaking the John Edwards scandal, but its influence appears to have been bought in the California governor’s race. Moles in the LAPD made requests and passed on vital information to Pellicano. Surveillance in movie studios is documented both in a non-fiction profile of Bert Fields, and in the fiction of the man himself. The characters in a novel about ReganBooks speak of their phones being possibly tapped, and it looks as if the head of that publishing imprint, Judith Regan, collected ten million because of a recorded phone call. This phone call was so damaging because it involved the head of Fox News, Roger Ailes, demanding that Regan lie about an affair with Bernie Kerik, then the commissioner of police, because any such scandal would hurt Kerik, and in turn, hurt Rudy Giulliani, a friend of Ailes and a man that he wanted to see win the presidency in 2008. This is not speculation, it is not fantasy. It is all well sourced, yet it unveils a world as fantastic and fascinating as that of Rising Sun where nothing is where it seems1.
This intermediary point is where we can move to a system that carries all these aspects of conspiracy – the co-opting of the police, the press, the law, private surveillance – on a far larger scale, both leaving behind Pellicano and containing him. The last fascinating character we’re left with in this part of the story is Marc Dreier, the man who ran the legal firm which Regan employed for her suit against News Corp. Dreier is a man who embodies our age, both the fallen world of the 2008 crash, and the one we live in now, a man who put on a very good act, and wasn’t at all what he seemed. He embodies our age for many reasons, so, of course he ran a ponzi scheme.
“We live in an age of white-collar villains. But of all the financial bad guys out there, Marc Dreier is arguably the single greatest character of them all,” wrote Robert Kolker in the definitive profile of this man, “The Impersonator”. Dreier was a hard-nosed tough as nails lawyer who ran a firm which he’d expand from thirty to two hundred fifty lawyers. Their clients would include Jay Leno and the rock act Wilco. Dreier owned a yacht that was over a hundred feet, an Aston Martin, and two houses in the Hamptons2. Dreier helped fund the law firm expansion by selling promissory notes – investment securities – for the projects of one of his clients, a real estate magnate named Sheldon Solow. The real estate magnate had no idea Dreier was doing this, because he’d never issued such securities. They were entirely fake, created by Dreier to bring in money for himself. Dreier and associates forged the notes, faked the signatures on the notes, faked financial statements with the Solow letterhead, and set up conference calls with themselves posing as Solow executives. This was no penny ante scheme – one hedge fund bought $60 million worth of these fake notes. The scheme went well for a while, and then it didn’t3. Once you run out of money to keep a ponzi scheme going, everything falls apart. Dreier was so short of cash, he had to sell securities just to pay the law firm’s car service bills. He missed the payment schedules for the phony securities already out there. Regan would sue Fox Corp. with the help of lawyers from Dreier’s firm in late 2007, and in January 2008 the suit would be settled. In December of that year, Dreier would be arrested in Toronto after he tried to peddle his notes by impersonating the head of an Ontario teachers pension fund. Dreier would eventually plead guilty to fraud and get twenty years4.
Regan, her lawyers, and her suit were an unrelated footnote to the Dreier wreckage, fascinating characters making cameos in each other’s plotlines. There were, however, interesting notes for those who followed the stories of Regan, Pellicano, and Fields, where your own suspicions gave each unanswered question a sinister possibility. Regan would terminate the use of her lawyers before the settlement was made. They would argue that she did so to avoid paying them, while she said that she did so with cause. The astonishing amount of the Regan settlement – a little over ten million – was discovered when a letter disclosing the amount was somehow left in the case file. Regan would charge that this violated the non-disclosure agreement of the settlement, and argued it was grounds on which the lawsuit against her by the legal team should be dismissed. Regan would allege that Dreier tried to extort money from her in exchange for keeping secret privileged information in relation to the case5. “Marc Dreier claimed Regan cheated him. It was Dreier who was attempting to cheat Regan and apparently, many others,” was the assessment. “News Corp once made false claims about Regan. They lost. Marc Dreier will lose too.” This last, I’m sorry to say, came from the sterile email of a Regan assistant, and was not said by Regan herself, before she perhaps gave off a hearty cackle, fired a machine gun in the air, and disappeared under the cover of a smoke bomb6.
Dreier’s arrest, the revelation of the settlement amount, and Regan’s call to have the suit dismissed all take place in December 2008, two weeks before Christmas. In February 2011, “Fox News Chief, Roger Ailes, Urged Employee to Lie, Records Show” by Russ Buettner is published, based on documents that were once again somehow placed in the public case file. Though Regan had earlier argued that there was no basis for the suit, she settled that May. “We settled before the Roger Ailes article,” Regan would say. “Everyone has [sic] reached a settlement agreement in the fall. The papers were not completely signed, they had been drafted.”7 There was puzzlement on the part of Leon Neyfakh in two of his articles on the controversy, “Spurned Lawyers Sue Judith Regan For Stiffing Them on Legal Fees” and “The Office of Judith Regan on Legal Fees Lawsuit: ‘Marc Dreier Will Lose’ Just Like News Corp”, on why exactly Bert Fields was staying on as counsel when Dreier was representing her; Fields would stay on as counsel when Dreier was replaced by Joe Cotchett8.
You could look at all this as mundane back and forth with nothing beneath the surface, or turn it into a film noir where everybody had a loaded gun in their pocket. In this hypothetical vision, the documents don’t exactly end up by chance in the public file, but are there to put pressure to have the suit against Regan settled, now. Fields stays on as legal counsel because Fields is the contact point with Pellicano, and maybe it’s Pellicano who knows where the tape of the conversation between Regan and Ailes is, encrypted, hidden somewhere. “Fox News Chief, Roger Ailes, Urged Employee to Lie, Records Show” ends its piece with an interesting footnote: “After Ms. Regan fired her lawyers, a seemingly unlikely figure came forward to help settle the case: Susan Estrich, a law professor and a regular Fox commentator whose book Ms. Regan had published, according to Ms. Regan’s affidavit.” The piece, however, neglects to mention what I thought was the most important detail of Estrich: she’s a loyal and close friend of Bert Fields9. This is all speculation, and should not be seen as possessing anything like certainty. Pellicano speaks of meeting with Rupert Murdoch about something to do with Judith Regan, but Pellicano was in jail from 2002 on. They could not have literally met, not without an insane level of media frenzy over this famous jailhouse visitor, either around the time when Kerik was up for the Homeland Security nomination in December 2004 or after Regan was dismissed in 2007.
Regan is often enthusiastic and merciless in speech, except in this one area. Pellicano’s statement that he met with Murdoch over something dealing with Regan, only gets a cautious parenthetical reply, “Regan says she never introduced the two men.” You could read Pellicano’s indiscrete mentioning of this in public as more of the bragging he was well known for, or in a very specific, sinister way: don’t forget, you owe me10 In “Judith Regan’s Millionaire Match”, from December 2010, she is forthright in many things, accusing Glenn Beck of “repulsive anti-Semitism”, and equally unrestrained about Beck’s broadcaster and her former employer: “If you study the Fox News method of operation, there’s all kinds of historic anti-Semitic views and the stuff with Glenn Beck is textbook.” From the same article, the author writes of her ongoing hatred for another enemy: “Any mention of Murdoch is apt to provoke Regan into a lengthy and detailed indictment of the media mogul’s alleged treachery against her after she made so much money for him. I manage, with some effort, to discourage this.”11 About Dreier and her lawyers, she was equally open after she settled with them: “Marc is a world-class criminal. I accused him of forgery before he was arrested. Do you think I paid them millions of dollars? Not a chance,” she’d say. “I’m very happy with the settlement.”12 Only in one area, perhaps due to the terms of the settlement itself, would she say nothing. In an article which told of the one thing that might lure her back into the book industry, “Judith Regan Wants to Publish a Book of Charlie Sheen’s Poetry”, out one month after the revelation of a taped phone call of Roger Ailes instructing her to lie to federal investigators, the writer asks for an interview and gets the reply, “Not if it’s about Roger Ailes.”13 It’s an unexpected demurral from someone who usually threw her darts so fearlessly and recklessly.
THE UNCROWNED KING
Judith Regan demonstrated the appeal and the limits of the tabloid sensibility. It was lurid and magnetic, yet it also was manichaen: either victim or villain, either the parents grieving for their missing child, or the hussy of an actress cheating on her man. Regan broke the tabloid simplicities, and you could find her fascinating in a way that tabloid would never allow, without necessarily being sympathetic. Regan has all the qualities of Meredith Johnson (the Demi Moore character of Disclosure brought up in part one of this post) – the ambition, the ruthlessness, the sexual forwardness – without ever being a simple villain. After a scene of vicious beating, the line that Moore cries out in G.I. Jane which signifies that she’s unbroken is “Suck my cock!” At her desk, Regan was known to sometimes scream out “I have the biggest cock in the building!”14 She had all the qualities that Demi Moore might have, might need to be a successful movie actress, but which could never be shown in a role without being the villain.
We might make the simple and obvious comparison between Regan as described by her former friend, Michael Wolff, in “The Trouble With Judith”,
And then there’s the sex thing. Judith is obsessed with her disadvantages as a woman—and she would reasonably point out that no man, no matter how graphic his conversation, would ever be described as advancing his career through sex. Still, Judith’s sex talk is not only unstinting, disturbing, and subversive, but also what makes her sui generis. She’s vulgar but uncommon. Powerful men—the list is long—can’t resist Judith’s vagina monologues. Perhaps because her sex talk is not just dirty but, fundamentally, about power. And control. (“What’s my secret?” she once snarled at me. “I’ll tell you my secret. I never let them come!”) To hear it is a kind of privilege of wealth. You’re in the presence of something sexually spectacular.
and Meredith Johnson’s own speech in Disclosure:
You wanna put me on trial here? Let’s at least be honest about what it’s for! I am a sexually aggressive woman. I like it. Tom knew it, and you can’t handle it. It is the same damn thing since the beginning of time. Veil it, hide it, lock it up and throw away the key. We expect a woman to do a man’s job, make a man’s money, and then walk around with a parasol and lie down for a man to fuck her like it was still a hundred years ago? Well, no thank you.
The Meredith Johnson of the movie is something closer to an actual character, rather than the simple effigy of the book, where she is an executive who is designed only to be hated, not only sexually avaricious, but an incompetent fool as well. The book has the simplicities of tabloid, without being honest enough that that’s what it’s trying to do, dressing it all up in a serious issue about sexual discrimination. One of Regan’s major adversaries while heading up ReganBooks was Janet Friedman, the head of parent publisher Harper Collins, and though Regan took the fall for the O.J. Simpson book, If I did it, this project had the backing and enthusiasm of both Friedman and Murdoch. This desire for something squalid, without being able to admit the desire, underlies Disclosure, and it feels like an obvious symmetry that Crichton and Friedman were close friends15.
Tabloid gave you this limited vision, and sometimes you only wanted this limited vision, but whether or not you wanted it, tabloid was everywhere. “I used to say to people, ‘Everything is going to become the National Enquirer,’ and it did,” said Regan in the nineties. “Everything became the National Enquirer, including what I do now. What I do now is a version of the National Enquirer.” She explained her motives for going on Millionaire Matchmaker: “I did it because it’s so ridiculous and so outrageous—but all of life is that way now. That’s the way the culture is. That’s the way everything is.”16 Her ex-boss, Rupert Murdoch, knew this as well as she, knew that tabloidization wasn’t your choice, it was theirs, and their choices mattered, not yours. Murdoch, the capo di tutti capi, knew what Anthony Pellicano knew, that it didn’t matter if you were the victim or the villain, the family grieving for their missing girl, or the hussy actress, because the result was the same: you were the quarry, in our sights and on our tapes, either ways.
(This post remains incomplete, and will be finished over the next few days. A few minor aesthetic edits were made, along with additional footnotes and footnote material added on October 29th. This post, over a year after it was written, remains incomplete, as I was never sure how to finish it. On April 13, 2015, it underwent a session of copy editing.)
THE WAR AT HOME
THE IMAGE OF THE DESIRED JAPANESE
THE IMAGE OF THE DESIRED JAPANESE
1 The point about the National Enquirer and Schwarzenegger is brought up in part two of this piece. The points on Kerik, the secret recording, surveillance in Hollywood and ReganBooks are in part three. The essential story which unveiled the collusion of Schwarzenegger and AMI, the parent company of the Enquirer and the Globe, which is still too little known is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach. The essential story on the Kerik tape is the one that broke it, “Fox News Chief, Roger Ailes, Urged Employee to Lie, Records Show” by Russ Buettner.
In 2003, Dreier took his small firm of 30 lawyers and rechristened it Dreier LLP. It was an odd time to embark on an expansion. Not only had his partner just left him, but Dreier had cash-flow problems.
Whether Dreier expanded his firm to make money to pay the interest on his phony notes or sold his phony notes so that he could expand his firm is an open question. What’s clear is that the firm grew dramatically. Dreier lured away entire departments from other shops, establishing practices in everything from bankruptcy and tax law to sports licensing and entertainment, and bringing the firm’s total number of lawyers to more than 250. With the new acquisitions came high-profile clients, such as Jay Leno, Wilco, and Michael Strahan.
On Dreier’s aggressive, ambitious character from “The Impersonator” by Robert Kolke:
“He was the type of guy who would do anything a client asked if it was in his interest,” says Kevin Smith, a lawyer who faced Dreier in court many times. “Everybody draws a line at some point. But this guy, he would do anything. Every courthouse, he’d pull up in a limo. He had suits that were cut, watches, jewelry. He was nasty, very aggressive, and contentious. He treated me like I didn’t exist.”
Dreier had been running similar scams with different marks, prosecutors say, since 2004. Dreier would allegedly contact an investment fund like Eton Park, Fortress, GSO Capital, Westford Global Asset Management, Perella Weinberg, and, before it went under, Amaranth and say that his client, Sheldon Solow, was trying to finance his real-estate projects by borrowing money with promissory notes. Dreier wasn’t a financier; he was a lawyer. But he would tell people he was working as a marketing agent for his client Solow’s securities. Solow, it appears, knew nothing about what Dreier called the “note program,” but that didn’t stop Dreier from sending along various offering materials—information about Solow, phony notes and financial statements on fake letterhead from Solow’s auditing firm, e-mails that he said had been issued by Solow, and so on. Dreier and his accomplices forged the notes themselves, complete with the fake signatures of Solow executives. If anyone asked to meet someone in the Solow organization, Dreier would arrange conference calls with people posing as Solow executives. He set up phone lines at his law firm. He created fake e-mail addresses. He kept hard-to-trace, no-contract cell phones—“burners” like Tony Soprano used—in a box in his office. Last July, Dreier diversified beyond his Solow strategy, selling $52 million in phony notes he said were issued by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. He used part of the proceeds to pay interest on some of the Solow notes he’d already sold.
On December 3, the phone rang in the comptroller’s office of Dreier LLP. It was Dreier, calling from Toronto. He’d been arrested for criminal impersonation. Someone at the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund had alerted the police moments after Dreier was caught pretending to be Michael Padfield, and someone, either the police or a representative of the fund, had reached Dreier on his phone before his plane took off. Dreier agreed to turn himself in. “He was obviously a beaten-down man,” a Dreier LLP source says. “His voice was gravelly, desperate. He said he did wrong, he’d ruined his life and career, and he’d try to make up for it.”
From “Lawyer Gets 20 Years in $700 Million Fraud” by Benjamin Weissr:
Marc S. Dreier, once a high-flying New York lawyer who orchestrated an elaborate fraud scheme that bilked hedge funds and other investors of $700 million, was sentenced on Monday to 20 years in prison by a judge who rejected the government’s request for a much longer sentence.
5 From “Regan Seeks Dismissal of Dreier Suit Over Disclosure (Update1)” by Patricia Hurtado:
Judith Regan, who sued over her 2006 firing from News Corp.’s HarperCollins unit, is seeking the dismissal of a legal fee lawsuit by her former attorneys, arguing their alleged disclosure of her $10.75 million settlement with the publishing house violated a nondisclosure agreement.
The confidential amount was included in a letter that was left in the case file. In it, lawyers from Dreier LLP, a New York firm, complained they were being given insufficient data about the accord to pursue their lawsuit. Marc Dreier, the firm’s namesake, was charged yesterday by federal prosecutors with directing an unrelated $100 million fraud.
Dreier’s firm sued Regan in March, accusing her of firing them to avoid paying fees from the January settlement with the publisher. Regan’s lawyers, who declined to confirm or deny the settlement amount, filed court papers today seeking the suit’s dismissal, claiming Dreier used Bloomberg.com, the Web site of Bloomberg News, to disclose the amount of the News Corp. accord.
In her motion today, Regan said she fired Dreier LLP for cause in December 2007 after Dreier and his firm allegedly “engaged in conduct that caused her seriously to question their competence and whether they were complying with the fiduciary duties they owed her as a client.”
According to an e-mail we received this morning from Ms. Regan’s assistant, a number of things require clarification. “The Dreier lawsuit has no merit,” the e-mail read. “Marc Dreier claimed Regan cheated him. It was Dreier who was attempting to cheat Regan and apparently, many others.”
Also: “News Corp once made false claims about Regan. They lost. Marc Dreier will lose too.”
7 From “Judith Regan Settles Lawsuit That Threatened to Implicate Ailes” by Gabriel Sherman:
Now, after more than two years of negotiations, Regan has reached a settlement with lawyers for the Dreier bankruptcy. “We settled before the Roger Ailes article,” Regan told me. “Everyone has reached a settlement agreement in the fall. The papers were not completely signed, they had been drafted.”
Figuring out exactly who those new lawyers were—her relatively longtime associate Bert Fields or Bay Area lawyer Joe Cotchett, whom she hired after firing Dreier—is a bit tricky. According to the Bloomberg report, it was Mr. Fields, not Mr. Cotchett, who represented Ms. Regan in the settlement with News Corp., but it’s unclear whether that’s based on anything other than the fact that Dreier, in their suit against Ms. Regan, listed Mr. Fields—and not Mr. Cotchett—as the co-defendent.
According to the e-mail from Ms. Regan’s office, the case against Mr. Fields “was dismissed” because Dreier’s “facts were wrong,” which may suggest that Dreier just fingered the wrong man when they filed their suit, having assumed, perhaps, based on Mr. Fields’ association with Ms. Regan, that he was the one to go after. Exactly what Mr. Fields’ working relationship is with Ms. Regan is hard to pin down, though: Back in November 2007, right after she first went after News Corp., the Los Angeles-based entertainment lawyer told The Observer that he was staying on as her legal counsel even though Dreier had prepared the suit and was representing Ms. Regan in court.
From “Spurned Lawyers Sue Judith Regan For Stiffing Them on Legal Fees” by Leon Neyfakh:
When asked in late January why Ms. Regan had dismissed Dreier, Mr. Fields did not give any details, saying only that the advantage Ms. Regan thought they would give her by being based in Manhattan rather than California had not panned out.
Also: maybe this is picking at details, but it should be said that Mr. Fields–who is listed as a defendant in Dreier’s suit–has maintained since last fall that he was in Ms. Regan’s employ. When I called him back in November to ask about the lawsuit, he insisted that even though Dreier was going to represent her in court, he was still her legal counsel. Then, when the suit was settled–for a rumored $10 million dollars–Mr. Fields said that Ms. Regan had switched Dreier out of the mix for Bay Area lawyer Joe Cotchett of the firm Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy. The implication being that Mr. Cotchett, not Mr. Fields, was replacing Dreier at Ms. Regan’s side.
9 From “Fox News Chief, Roger Ailes, Urged Employee to Lie, Records Show” by Russ Buettner:
The court records examined by The New York Times this week, which have subsequently been taken out of the public case file, also reveal another interesting footnote. After Ms. Regan fired her lawyers, a seemingly unlikely figure came forward to help settle the case: Susan Estrich, a law professor and a regular Fox commentator whose book Ms. Regan had published, according to Ms. Regan’s affidavit.
From “Hollywood Ending” by Ken Auletta. Note the guests at the party in the second excerpt.
An attorney who has been both an ally and an opponent of Fields in court thinks that Fields’s aggressiveness “so pumps him up that sometimes he takes noisy public positions that make it hard for him to easily extricate himself without losing face.” In Hollywood, where entertainment lawyers often have clients on both sides of the table, a lawyer typically seeks what is referred to as “a win-win situation.” Susan Estrich, who teaches law at the University of Southern California and is a family friend, says, “His attitude is you protect your client. Bert doesn’t play social games. He’s not out schmoozing. There’s no legal, legitimate, ethical tactic he won’t use to protect you.” Some people, including Fields’s friends, believe that this sort of determination is what propelled him to hire Pellicano.
In May, at a club in midtown Manhattan, Bert Fields hosted a book party for Kathy Freston, whose husband, Tom, is the C.E.O. of Viacom. At the party—Barbara Guggenheim and Rupert and Wendi Murdoch were among the co-hosts—one guest murmured about Fields, “I’m amazed he came.” But if Fields is suffering from having been a subject of federal interest since 2003, he’s not letting on—at least, not publicly. Gustavo Cisneros, a friend of Fields who is the chairman of a privately owned media conglomerate, recalls phoning him this spring to inquire how he was. “Gustavo, don’t be concerned,” Fields responded. It was the last they spoke of the case. Susan Estrich (Guggenheim and Fields are the guardians for her two children) says it’s “a disgrace the way his name has been dragged through the mud.” Estrich, a Democratic activist and occasional television pundit, has gone so far as to wonder whether pressure from conservative Republicans is animating the drive to get Fields and also Hollywood.
Kathy Freston is good friends with Wendi Deng, Murdoch’s wife at the time – a cited example of their friendship might be found in “Declaration of Independence” by Amy Chozick:
She used to wash her clothes and face with the same soap, said a 2008 Vogue article, and seldom wore makeup, much less luxuriated in the perks of privilege — like the private yoga classes with her friends Kathy Freston and Arianna Huffington — she indulges in today. At Yale, she would stake out Filene’s Basement to procure designer gowns on the cheap. Today, she is regularly photographed wearing Rodarte and Prada.
I take the time to point out these connections to make clear that Murdoch and Fields knew each other socially – Fields hosted a party for Kathy Freston, who is good friends with Wendi Deng. The purpose of that is to give basis for the possibility that when Pellicano says he met with Murdoch about Regan he perhaps conveyed some information, the credibility of the tape or the tape itself, through an intermediary, Fields, who was the one who actually, physically met with Murdoch.
Pellicano claims never to have lent his services to any of Murdoch’s newspapers, and says he met the mogul only once, “but it had to do with Judith Regan,” his former longtime friend, who was fired from News Corp.’s HarperCollins in 2006. (Regan says she never introduced the two men.) “If News of the World called,” he says hypothetically, “I would ask the editor, ‘Why would you want me to do that? Are you stupid?!’ The guy at News of the World was just getting leads for stories.” Pellicano boasts that “I was the top of the ladder. Just to talk to me it cost $25,000. These guys were stringers who worked with reporters to try to get information on a celebrity!”
11 From “Judith Regan on Millionaire Matchmaker, NewsCorp. and Her Love Life” by Lloyd Grove:
Any mention of Murdoch is apt to provoke Regan into a lengthy and detailed indictment of the media mogul’s alleged treachery against her after she made so much money for him. I manage, with some effort, to discourage this. Still, her bloody combat with her former employer was the epic battle of a lifetime. She takes perverse pride in having enemies—the right enemies—and won’t be silenced.
“Most people roll over,” she explains. “Most people don’t have the fight in them, don’t have the courage and the conviction. They just don’t. And I really don’t have the disposition to tolerate what I feel is an injustice. Because, strangely, I’m not really materialistic—so I’ll fight to the death.”
Warming to her subject, Regan goes on, “I’ve had to fight for everything. Nobody gave me anything. I strongly believe that I’m right. And if you strongly believe you’re right and you’ve been wronged, then what’s your choice? I was very wronged by News Corp., and they had to retract all the bullshit they said and they had to eat it, and they had to pay me. You have to give me credit: I did win in the end.”
And Regan is withering about Glenn Beck, whom she accuses of “repulsive anti-Semitism,” a problem she says Beck shares with Fox News in general.
“They specialize in it—look what they’ve done to George Soros. It’s unbelievable,” says Regan, who at one point in her battle with Murdoch was accused by News Corp. lawyers of making anti-Semitic remarks—a claim they later retracted. “If you study the Fox News method of operation, there’s all kinds of historic anti-Semitic views and the stuff with Glenn Beck is textbook.” A Fox News spokesman also refused to join the battle.
12 From “Judith Regan Settles Lawsuit That Threatened to Implicate Ailes” by Gabriel Sherman:
Regan’s lawyer Robert Brown told me that Regan had pushed for the settlement.
“After she finished her NBC pilot, she told me she had a hot new boyfriend and didn’t want to waste any more time with the cockroaches in court and [wanted to] settle it and get it over with,” Brown said. “So I did.”
The Dreier lawyers were seeking millions, but Regan says she settled for only a fraction of that amount. Regan told me she was happy with the outcome, and this being Judith Regan, she had a few choice words for Dreier. “Marc is a world-class criminal. I accused him of forgery before he was arrested. Do you think I paid them millions of dollars? Not a chance,” she told me. “I’m very happy with the settlement.”
Downstairs at Bar Boulud last night, at a private party for the new WNET interview series “The Artist Toolbox,” comedian Frankie Hudak wrapped New York publishing legend Judith Regan in a bro hug and demanded to know where she’s been hiding. “Just fucking around, traveling the world, having sex,” she informed him, prompting us to immediately ask her for an interview. “Not if it’s about Roger Ailes,” she told us, referring to the Fox News exec who, she claims in a lawsuit, urged her to lie to federal investigators about her affair with Bernard Kerik. But ignoring that scandal was actually fine with us, as we wanted to know why Regan had appeared on the Bravo series Millionaire Matchmaker in December.
One other detail of this story deserves mentioning, if only in a footnote. This story received several comments, the most enthusiastic of which were three by a “JONATHANJACKSON”, who was aggressively and unapologetically supportive of the publisher:
I love Judith Regan. She fears no one, speaks the truth, has genuine courage to take on Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes who done her wrong and, lest we forget, SHE BEAT THEM. If you looked at the list of books she published she opened the door to everyone from Wally Lamb to Sean Hannity, Michael Moore to Doug Coupland. Poets, designers, novelists, physicists, biographers, historians, comedians, doctors, actors, musicians. She invited everyone to the table. And the vastly ignorant who know nothing of her work judge her. SHE IS HYSTERICALLY FUNNY AND HONEST AND YOU APPARENTLY CAN’T TAKE THE TRUTH. GROW UP. JUDITH REGAN IS MY HERO!
Does anyone have a sense of humor anymore? Obviously Regan was doing a PARODY of Sheen and if you listen to her Sirius/XM Radio Show you would know she is an irreverent, wise-cracking, hysterically funny host who mocks everything and everyone including herself. LIGHTEN UP YOU TROLLS!! Judith Regan is mocking the absurdity of the whole Charlie Sheen episode and the inanity of the media.
Another story dealing with Regan in New York magazine, “Judith Regan Settles Lawsuit That Threatened to Implicate Ailes” by Gabriel Sherman, featured a remark left a “MARK_JACKSON”, a joke perhaps, since the name of the Fox Corp. lawyer who she had allegedly said was part of a jewish cabal was named Mark Jackson as well. “MARK_JACKSON” is responsible for only this single comment at New York magazine, just as the output of “JONATHANJACKSON” is limited to the three comments at “Judith Regan Wants to Publish a Book of Charlie Sheen’s Poetry” (the comment profiles at New York magazine of “MARK_JACKSON” and “JONATHANJACKSON”). It bears, I think, a strong similarity in tone and texture to the remarks of “JONATHANJACKSON”:
Judith has been screwed royally by most of her lawyers. Marc Dreier fabricated this lawsuit against her and he got his comeuppance. Come to think of it her accountant Ken Starr went to prison, her gyno went to prison and a few of her idiot boyfriends went too. She’s very funny on her SiriusXM Radio Show but she has terrible taste in men and lawyers. I am not the same pig lawyer Mark Jackson at Harper Collins who screwed her and fabricated stories about her for their defamation campaign led by Roger Ailes. Oh that Mark was rewarded for his smear campaign with the job of running Dow Jones legal department. HUSH HUSH!! Do not try to destroy Judith Regan she will eat you for dinner and then you will go to prison. You go girl!
Perhaps it’s my paranoia about sock puppets, but you can’t help wonder if the angry, unrelenting voice of “JONATHANJACKSON” and the angry, unrelenting voice of “MARK_JACKSON” are the same person, and you can’t help but wonder if you’re reading the voice of a certain angry, unrelenting publisher in exile.
If the O.J. book and TV special had worked out, she might have been heralded as a multiplatform genius; she would’ve been positioned perfectly to become a kind of Martha Stewart, the face of her own publishing empire. With Martha, there was a veneer of the traditional feminine homemaker over the steely ambition, but with Judith, everything was on show, and what a show it was. Regan had been known to scream, “I have the biggest cock in the building” from behind her desk. O.J. was meant to be her coming-out in Los Angeles, her clarion call to the entertainment industry. “Before the book was even announced, back when it was a secret, Judith was telling people it was the book of her career,” says a friend.
Judith Regan may be a loose cannon, but this was far from the case with the O.J. book. Rupert Murdoch himself signed off on it. Regan received a call from Simpson’s manager in February 2006, asking if she would be interested in O.J.’s story. Coincidentally, she was going to see Murdoch at a book party that evening. They had a cursory conversation, and she explained that Simpson’s share of the proceeds would be going not to O.J. but to his kids. Murdoch thought it sounded like a viable project and congratulated her on it.
Friedman saw the project as a gigantic mound of cash piled on her bottom line. “There were two secret books at HarperCollins in 2006, and we asked, ‘Are they worth it?’” says a HarperCollins editor. “Jane said that one of them was not that big a deal, but the book with Judith was going to be huge.” Mark Jackson, Murdoch’s in-house counsel, made the deal for about $880,000, put into a third-party trust for Simpson’s children.
From “The Judith Regan Story” by Vanessa Grigoriadis, on Friedman’s friendship with Crichton:
Unlike Regan, whose publishing model is based on a strong leader and few minions, Friedman is a believer in the team concept. She rose from a Random House Dictaphone typist in 1968 to become a publicist. Friedman has long been in the habit of making bold claims about having reinvented the publishing business. She likes to say that she conceived the “author tour and audio books,” which may be overstepping (Mark Twain, after all, traveled across America), but her success with modern tours, beginning with Julia Child’s cooking extravaganzas, and her achievements as the founder of Random House Audio Publishing, are notable. At Random House, she served as an indispensable No. 2 to both Sonny Mehta and Bob Gottlieb and executed successful campaigns for Michael Crichton, a close friend, and fluke best sellers like In the Kitchen With Rosie and I Was Amelia Earhart.
16 From “Judith Regan on Millionaire Matchmaker, NewsCorp. and Her Love Life” by Lloyd Grove:
“Why not? I just thought it could be a hoot,” says the Sirius XM radio host, and once and possibly future publishing powerhouse, “I did it because it’s so ridiculous and so outrageous—but all of life is that way now. That’s the way the culture is. That’s the way everything is.”
“I had a natural desire to ask people about their lives in dramatic ways,” she says. “I was interested in the human aspects of people’s lives, which is more tabloid, I suppose. I used to say to people, ‘Everything is going to become the National Enquirer,’ and it did. Everything became the National Enquirer, including what I do now. What I do now is a version of the National Enquirer.”