Only Judith Regan could draw so many famous men into one court filing.
In a $100 million defamation suit filed in New York Tuesday, the firebrand former publisher sues, censures or cites Rudy Giuliani, Rupert Murdoch, Mickey Mantle, Bill O'Reilly, O.J. Simpson, Roger Ailes and Bernard Kerik.
Regan accuses her former employer, News Corp., of engineering a campaign of dirty tricks against her that allegedly involved leaking lies that she was openly anti-Semitic, disgracing and embarrassing her when she tried to publish O.J. Simpson's fictionalized account of the murder of his wife and her friend, and suggesting she lie about her affair with a married New York City police commissioner to protect former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's presidential dreams.
In a 72-page complaint, Regan's attorneys claim that she was the victim of a "deliberate smear campaign orchestrated by one of the world's largest media conglomerates for the sole purpose of destroying her credibility and reputation.
"This smear campaign was necessary to advance News Corp.'s political agenda, which has long centered on protecting Rudy Giuliani's presidential ambitions," read the court filing.
The complaint charges that one unnamed senior News Corp. executive "counseled Regan to lie and withhold information from investigators" about her acknowledged affair with former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik. Another unnamed News Corp. executive "advised Regan not to produce clearly relevant documents in connection with a governmental investigation of Kerik,'' according to the complaint. Regan also charges that she was wrongfully terminated.
Kerik attorney, Ken Breen, a former federal prosecutor, declined to respond to the complaint.
"Her lawsuit is preposterous. That's all we're saying for now,'' News Corp. publicist Howard Rubenstein told the ABC News' Law & Justice Unit.
"I think that's a gossip column story, and the last thing in the world you want to do when you're running for president is respond to gossip column type stories," Giuliani said in response to reporters' questions Wednesday.
It was unclear from court papers whether Regan actually deceived or withheld information from investigators, a potential federal felony. A publicist for Regan declined comment, saying the filing "speaks for itself."
A source close to Regan who did not want to be identified said the charges are "all backed up by hard evidence." The source denied that the complaint's filing was timed to coincide with a week in which Simpson was in court in Las Vegas and Kerik was indicted in New York while Giuliani continued his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.
Rise and Fall
It was Giuliani's unwavering support of Kerik, a former Bronx beat cop, that propelled him so swiftly from a driver on the mayoral police detail to city corrections commissioner, police chief and eventually to President Bush's nominee to direct Homeland Security.
That nomination went down in flames and deeply embarrassed both Bush and Giuliani when allegations surfaced that Kerik had employed an undocumented immigrant. Kerik withdrew himself from consideration almost immediately. This week he pleaded not guilty to 16 federal counts of corruption and was released on $500,000 bail.