The cocaine and prostitution scandal surrounding Germany’s disgraced TV talkmeister and Jewish leader, Michel Friedman, ended last week as he broke weeks of silence, stepped down from his official posts and was fined for drug possession.
Friedman fled the country last month after police raids on his home and office in Frankfurt turned up packets with traces of cocaine.
The caustic and combative Friedman, known as the “TV inquisitor,” resigned as VP of Germany’s Central Council of Jews as well as prexy of the European Jewish Congress.
“I apologize with all my heart for what I have done,” Friedman told a crowded July 8 press conference in Frankfurt.
Born to Polish Jews who were saved from Auschwitz by Oskar Schindler, Friedman, 47, is a member of the conservative Christian Democratic Union party and a staunch supporter of Israel.
His talkshows, “Friedman” on pubcaster ARD and “Vorsicht! Friedman” (“Watch Out! Friedman”) on ARD regional affiliate Hessischer Rundfunk, were pulled off the air last month after the bust.
ARD said Friedman will not be returning to the national pubcaster; Hessischer Rundfunk has yet to decide whether to continue his local show.
Friedman agreed to pay a fine of nearly $20,000 in an out-of-court settlement that spares him a public trial but leaves him with a criminal record.
Notorious for grilling celebrity guests on his show, Friedman says he cannot complain about the media coverage. “In my life as a politician and journalist, I have asked people some hard questions, including about their political mistakes. Now I have to accept that the same measure is applied to me.”