Obstruction of justice: News Corp., Regan, and Kerik

Did News Corp. execs ask Judith Regan to lie to investigators to protect Bernie Kerik and avoid political damage to Rudy Giuliani? Looks that way.

The pretense that News Corporation is a journalistic enterprise rather than a power brokerage gets harder to maintain by the day. Yes, we’ve known that Fox News and the NY Post were ready to systematically lie to support right-wing candidates; but obstruction of justice may be a bridge too far.

That’s what’s alleged in Judith Regan’s lawsuit: that a senior News Corp. executive asked her to lie to investigators about her relationship with Bernie Kerik, and another executive suggested that she withhold documents, all in order to protect Rudy Giuliani’s political career. (Giuliani officiated at Roger Ailes’s wedding.)

Now why, you may ask, should anyone believe anything Judith Regan says? I’m glad you asked that question. Her lawyers must surely have known, and told her, that she was making charges of criminal activity, and that if she testifies to those incidents in her civil case she will probably have a chance to testify again, in front of a grand jury. And that if her grand jury testimony doesn’t match her civil-trial testimony she could well be joining her ex-lover behind bars.

Pass the popcorn. I keep thinking that at some point some of this is finally going to damage Rudy Giuliani, but so far it doesn’t seem to be hurting him either in the Republican primaries or in trial heats for November. Is the country getting so inured to sleaze that it’s no longer a political liability?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com