Stern's suit targets Burkle, Daily News, Clintons

NEW YORK — For months, former New York Post scribe Jared Paul Stern was at the center of unseemly accusations that he tried to shake down billionaire Ronald Burkle in exchange for good press in the newspaper’s gossip pages.

Now Stern has fired back in a lawsuit filed Thursday against Burkle, the Post’s archrival Daily News — even former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom Stern accuses of attacking him in an effort to suppress negative stories about themselves.

Represented by a longtime critic of the Clintons, Stern alleges the defendants defamed and inflicted emotional distress on him and wrecked his job as a contributor to the Post’s hugely popular Page Six gossip column. He seeks unspecified damages.

Burkle spokesman Frank Quintero, Daily News spokeswoman Jennifer Mauer and Jay Carson, a spokesman for the Clintons, all declined to comment on the lawsuit. So did defendant William Sherman, the Daily News reporter who broke the story about the allegations against Stern last year.

Federal authorities investigated Burkle’s claim that Stern demanded $100,000 and a $10,000 monthly stipend to make negative stories about him stop appearing in Page Six. Stern has repeatedly denied such an extortion attempt, and federal authorities declined to file charges.

Stern, 36, was suspended from the Post and no longer works there. He is living in upstate New York, plotting his comeback.

“Jared did not commit extortion,” Stern’s attorney Larry Klayman said. “He did not conduct a shakedown. The bottom line is that Burkle is in deep, hot water.”

Burkle, a California supermarket mogul and political donor, has previously spoken out on the case by expressing dismay with columns like Page Six, denouncing what he called the “shoddy standards of gossip reporting.”

The Clintons are friends with Burkle, and Bill Clinton also has complained about Page Six items.

Stern’s lawsuit claims the Clintons “conceived of and participated in and furthered the illegal actions of the other defendants in order to destroy Page Six of the New York Post and the New York Post in general.”

“This was intended as a prelude to Hillary Clinton’s run for the Presidency in 2008 as Page Six and the New York Post, owned and operated by Rupert Murdoch, were perceived as significant impediments to a successful candidacy and the Clintons’ return to the White House,” the lawsuit alleges.

Others named in Stern’s lawsuit include a spokesman for Burkle and his head of security.

Stern’s attorney founded Judicial Watch and is best known for lawsuits he pursued while running the conservative legal group.

Klayman pursued ethics claims against the Clintons throughout the 1990s and represented Gennifer Flowers, who claimed she had an affair with Bill Clinton, in a defamation lawsuit against Hillary Clinton.

Murdoch, whose vast media holdings include Fox News and the Post, surprised liberals and conservatives alike by helping raise money for Sen. Clinton’s re-election campaign last year.

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