Fox News Investigation, Preet’s Absence Could Cause Changes
By Nethani Palmani | Mar 14, 2017 05:32 AM EDT
There will be a series of aftermath following the firing of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (S.D.N.Y.), Preet Bharara. The biggest winner would probably be Fox News and executive chairman Rupert Murdoch, according to the speculation of New York Magazine.
Sean Hannity released a decision on cleaning the Justice Department of all Obama-era political appointees within less than 24 hours. At the same time, the S.D.N.Y. Department had been investigating possible crimes of sexual harassment by former Fox News executive Roger Ailes, according to ABA Journal.
According to sources, the probe is looking at a number of potential crimes, including the allegation of Fox News executives obtaining journalists' phone records or committed mail and wire fraud by hiding financial settlements paid to women who accused Roger Ailes of sexual harassment. Sources also revealed that prosecutors have been offering witnesses immunity to testify before a federal grand jury that's already been impaneled.
Preet's investigations did not make him many friends, and in fact, there's been speculation the Fox News investigation was troubling for the distinctly pro-Trump news network, according to Mediaite. Without Preet's presence, the pressure at Fox is much lesser.
The prospect of indictments is a serious problem given that Fox News is Murdoch's most profitable division. "They're really worried," one source close to the network said.
Another source mentioned that Fox News executives considered the investigation "political" because Preet had been appointed by Barack Obama. Preet's replacement could be an ally for Murdoch, especially since Trump has shortlisted Marc Mukasey to replace Preet, who happens to be former Fox News chief Roger Ailes' personal lawyer.
Marc Mukasey, the now shortlisted candidate for the S.D.N.Y. job shows that it is likely the administration political intrigue could be going on. Meanwhile, whether or not the scandal would bring more unprecedented changes depends on the administration.