CBS Gets Subpoenaed in Investigation of Former CEO


Less than three weeks after disgraced CEO Les Moonves was ousted by the network, CBS Corp. revealed the details of a subpoena it received pertaining to related documents.

Moonves left the network he helped shape in the wake of a second round of sexual assault and harassment allegations published by The New Yorker earlier this month.

In a report published Friday, the network confirmed that the New York City Commission on Human Rights issued the subpoena.

The New York State Attorney General is also seeking material related to the claims against Moonves.

According to CBS, the legal document requests information about the company’s internal investigation into the allegations as well as “CBS News and cultural issues at all levels of CBS.”

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Officials have instructed CBS, along with an unspecified number of employees, to preserve specific documents, including “payments made to or for the benefit of Illeana Douglas, Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, Deborah Green, Deborah Kitay, or Christine Peters.”

The women were among those who accused Moonves of wrongdoing.

An email sent to the employees instructed them not to destroy or delete the requested materials.

Details of the subpoena were revealed in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing this week, which notes that the CBS investigation predated the latest allegations against the company’s then-CEO.

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“As announced on August 1, 2018, the Board of Directors of CBS Corporation (‘CBS’ or the ‘Company’) has retained two law firms to conduct a full investigation of the allegations in recent press reports about CBS’s former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CBS News and cultural issues at all levels of CBS,” the filing states. “This investigation is ongoing.”

The SEC filing confirmed that CBS “has received subpoenas … regarding the subject matter of this investigation and related matters” and could receive future requests for information.

“The Company may receive additional related regulatory and investigative inquiries from these and other entities in the future,” the statement concluded.

Among the specific areas of focus is information about “allegations and complaints against Leslie Moonves; any internal investigations into allegations or complaints relating to harassment, sexual harassment, or other threatening or unwelcome behavior involving Mr. Moonves or other CBS Corporation employees; agreements and documents related to certain individuals who have made allegations against Mr. Moonves that have been reported in the press; and CBS’s policies and procedures for addressing allegations of workplace harassment or discrimination.”

Moonves issued a statement following the most recent allegations in which he denied the women’s “appalling accusations.”

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“What is true is that I had consensual relations with three of the women some 25 years ago before I came to CBS,” he wrote.

Moonves went on to claim that he never used his “position to hinder the advancement or careers of women.”

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Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a wide range of newsrooms.
Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a variety of newsroom settings. After covering crime and other beats for newspapers and radio stations across the U.S., he served as managing editor at Western Journalism until 2017. He has also been a regular guest and guest host on several syndicated radio programs. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and son.
Texas Press Association, Best News Writing - 2012
Bachelor of Arts, Journalism - Averett University
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