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Judge dismisses claims in Rather suit

Fraud charges chucked from lawsuit

A New York judge has dismissed a number of the claims in the $70 million lawsuit that former CBS News anchor Dan Rather filed against the Eye in September.

Judge Ira Gammerman of New York Supreme Court dismissed the claims of fraud against CBS Corp. chief Leslie Moonves, Viacom-CBS chairman Sumner Redstone and former CBS News prexy Andrew Heyward. Rather’s suit alleged that the CBS brass never intended to live up to the terms of Rather’s employment contract with the Eye.

Rather’s suit charges that CBS made him the scapegoat in the scandal that erupted when it was discovered that newsmag “60 Minutes II” had used questionable documents to support a story critical of President Bush’s National Guard service in the 1970s. Suit also claims that CBS violated the terms of his contract by failing to give him meaningful assignments on “60 Minutes” and other programs after he stepped down from “CBS Evening News” in March 2005.

“We are gratified that the court has dismissed the vast majority of Mr. Rather’s claims, including the spurious claims against Mr. Redstone, Mr. Moonves and Mr. Heyward, as well as the false charges of fraud, tortuous interference with prospective business relations, breach of good faith and fair dealing,” CBS said in a statement Thursday. “With respect to the few remaining claims, relevant to his contract, there are no facts to support them, and we expect them to be dismissed when the discovery process is complete.”

A lawyer for Rather could not be immediately reached for comment.

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