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Regan, Fields prep Rupe firing suit

Ousted publisher to take News Corp. to court

In the matter of Judith Regan vs. News Corp., the legal fireworks are about to begin.

Regan will file a wrongful termination suit against her former employer, News Corp. unit HarperCollins, in a matter of days, said her attorney, Bert Fields.

Fields wouldn’t specify the damages she will seek, but the balance of compensation owed under Regan’s contract would be a starting point.

“She’s not going to take this lying down,” Fields said.

Regan was ousted from her perch as topper of her own imprint, ReganBooks, on Friday. Move was widely interpreted as a delayed reaction to the scandal surrounding her TV and book project with O.J. Simpson, “If I Did It,” in which he describes how he might have killed his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.

On Monday, News Corp. said the reason for her termination was alleged anti-Semitic comments made to HarperCollins lawyer Mark Jackson, in which she accused a number of HarperCollins execs and one agent of forming a “Jewish cabal” against her.

News Corp. provided excerpts from Jackson’s notes of the heated conversation to the press Monday.

Fields disputed the content of the call and said he may have a full transcript of what was said. “They should worry about that,” he said.

Of the two comments made public, Fields said one is not anti-Semitic, and the other did not occur in the way Jackson described.

“Of all people, Jews should know about ganging up, finding common enemies and telling the big lie,” Regan said, according to Jackson’s notes from the conversation.

She added that a number of HarperCollins execs, with whom she has had a combative relationship — Jackson, executive editor David Hirshey and president Jane Friedman — plus agent Esther Newberg “constitute a Jewish cabal against her.”

A News Corp. spokesman said the call wasn’t recorded on Jackson’s end, which would have violated wiretapping laws.

Fields argued News Corp. had been looking for a reason to fire Regan since the O.J. project, which proved an embarrassment to the company. It reportedly had been approved by News Corp. topper Rupert Murdoch before he canceled the project, calling it “ill-considered.”

Fields said he’s fast-tracking his complaint and it would be filed within a few days. He specified it would not be filed before the end of Hanukkah, which would make it next week.