ABC kills story, sparks flap

NEW YORK — ABC News spiked a story about allegations of sexual misconduct in Congress hours before it was scheduled to air Friday night, prompting a complaint from the author of an upcoming book who first raised the charges.

The expose, scheduled to air on newsmag “20/20,” was yanked after network execs determined “the story was not strong enough to air,” ABC spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said.

The piece was based on “Inside Congress,” a new book from investigative reporter Ronald Kessler. The book alleges, among other things, that U.S. Rep. Sonny Bono (R-Calif.) sexually harassed an intern and that a Senate aide attempted to have sex with every senator — and nearly succeeded.

The author was outraged by the last-minute decision to pull the story.

“I think ABC killed it out of fear of congressional regulation and sensitivity on the part of David Westin about having some congressman talk about Westin’s own personal life,” Kessler said.

Westin, named ABC News president two months ago, has been linked in news press reports to ABC public relations executive Sherrie Rollins. She is married to GOP campaign strategist Ed Rollins.

Kessler claimed executives were worried about regulation of cable television and that members of Congress might refuse to appear on shows.

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