[guest post by Dana]
On the heels of the NYT report about Bill O’Reilly’s humongous $32 million payout to former Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl, the no-spinmeister released the full text of Wiehl’s artfully worded affidavit.
First, David French offers an explainer:
…statements like this aren’t uncommon after settlements — especially when those settlements involve prominent people or prominent institutions. Part of the “purchase price” of the settlement often includes a statement that defendants use to try to claim that the litigation was nonsense from the beginning. Plaintiffs will accept the payout and do their best to negotiate language that’s as meaningless as possible. They want the settlement amount to do the talking. Negotiations over statements or affidavits can sometimes be more complex and contentious than negotiations over even seven-figure payouts. The wording is careful, and the statements are notable mainly for what they don’t say.
He then breaks down the statement in an amusing fashion, showing why it doesn’t exonerate O’Reilly, in spite of that being the hoped for outcome:
1. I have known Bill O’Reilly for over 18 years. We have worked together, we have socialized, and on occasion I gave him legal advice.
Translation: I used to work with Bill O’Reilly.
2. At the end of 2016, I hired counsel who prepared a draft complaint asserting claims against Bill O’Reilly. We have since resolved all of our issues. I would no longer make the allegations contained in the draft complaint.
Translation: I sued O’Reilly, he paid me $32 million, and I agreed to drop the suit. I “would no longer make the allegations” because every settlement agreement ever created in the entire history of the universe bars the plaintiff from ever again raising her original claims.
3. Additionally, over the years while I was acting as Bill O’Reilly’s counsel, he forwarded to me certain explicit emails that were sent to him, and any advice sought or rendered is attorney-client privileged, confidential, and private. I have no claims against Bill O’Reilly concerning any of those emails or any of the allegations in the draft complaint.
Translation: My lawyers are very, very good. Admire their handiwork. If you read closely, all I said is that he sent me explicit emails, I can’t talk about them, and I have (note the verb tense) no claims. Of course I currently have no claims; I settled them for $32 million.
4. Also, I have reached an accommodation with Fox News regarding the termination of my employment. I have no claims against Fox News.
Translation: Same verb tense as the previous paragraph, y’all. I have no claims because I settled those claims.
Allahpundit asks the question that answers itself:
What the affidavit doesn’t say is that she recants the allegations in her complaint as having been untrue. You’re left wondering why, if nothing happened between them, there’s nothing in there that states plainly, “I, Lis Wiehl, hereby acknowledge that Bill O’Reilly never harassed, assaulted, raped, or behaved otherwise inappropriately with me in any way.”
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)