The war is over: Judith Regan, the publisher fired in the wake of her efforts to release O.J. Simpson’s hypothetical “confession,” has settled her $100 million lawsuit with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.
“The parties are pleased that they have reached an equitable, confidential settlement, with no admission of liability by any party,” according to a joint statement issued Friday.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with so many gifted people and am looking forward to my next venture,” Regan, who filed a $100 million defamation suit last November, said in a statement.
Regan’s ReganBooks imprint at HarperCollins published a long list of racy best sellers, including Jose Canseco’s “Juiced” and Jenna Jameson’s “How to Make Love Like a Porn Star.” But she was fired in December 2006, less than a month after Murdoch canceled her plans to publish O.J. Simpson’s allegedly fictional murder confession, “If I Did It.” The book and a companion Fox television interview were greeted with widespread public outrage.
“Ms. Regan is a talented publisher who created many award-winning and best-selling books during her twelve and a half years at the company,” the company said in a statement. “News Corp. thanks Ms. Regan for her outstanding contributions and wishes her continued success.”
The settlement spares both sides from what could have been a nasty trial. At the time of Regan’s firing, her attorney had promised “war,” not an unrealistic threat from the famously temperamental publisher.
Financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but Regan did attain one major goal: Her name cleared from allegations of anti-Semitism. At the time of her firing, when she still had more than two years on her contract, News Corp. said that Regan made anti-Semitic comments to a HarperCollins lawyer during an angry telephone conversation, complaining of a “Jewish cabal” at the company.
“This charge was completely fabricated,” according to Regan’s lawsuit.
“After carefully considering the matter, we accept Ms. Regan’s position that she did not say anything that was anti-Semitic in nature, and further believe that Ms. Regan is not anti-Semitic,” News Corp. said Friday.
Regan had also accused her former employers of asking her to lie to investigators about Bernard Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner who was once her lover, and had tried to smear her.
Regan said the smear campaign stems from her past intimate relationship with Kerik, who was police commissioner under former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and from the political agenda of News Corp.
Giuliani, a Republican currently running for president, appointed Kerik police commissioner and in 2004 recommended him to President Bush for secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Kerik had to withdraw his nomination after it was revealed he had not reported the wages he paid to a nanny.
He was indicted last November, days before Regan filed her lawsuit, on counts including accusations of lying to the White House and filing false income tax returns. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The 54-year-old Regan, known for her commercial savvy, if not for her collegiality, had a troubled relationship with her company even before the Simpson book. In her lawsuit, she complained bitterly about HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman and “the chronically hostile work environment.”
Although currently not in publishing, Regan still hosts a talk show on Sirius Satellite Radio. She has reportedly traveled extensively over the past year and has spoken of attempting a singing career.