New York Attorney General Letitia James has apparently taken some time off from her obsessive pursuit to get Donald Trump and has instead reached a $30.5 million settlement with CBS and its former President and CEO Leslie Moonves over allegations of insider trading. A statement released by her office Wednesday reads:
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today secured $30.5 million from CBS and former CBS President and Chief Executive Officer, Leslie Moonves, for concealing sexual assault allegations against Mr. Moonves, misleading investors about those allegations, and insider trading…
The investigation also revealed that another senior executive at CBS — one of the few people who knew about the allegations — sold millions of dollars of CBS stock in the weeks before the allegations became public. [Emphasis mine.]
Moonves, once one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, faced his downfall in 2018 when a New Yorker article detailed allegations of multiple instances of sexual harassment by the executive and a culture of tolerance for misconduct under his leadership. He was forced to step down in September of that year without his extremely lucrative severance package.
The charges of insider trading and covering up misconduct are bad enough, but the most shocking part of the New York AG’s statement is that it says an unnamed LAPD captain was feeding inside information about the investigation to Moonves as the scandal unfolded and was actively trying to save the CEO’s job.
James wrote in her statement:
Information obtained by OAG [Office of the Attorney General], including text messages between the LAPD captain, a CBS executive, and Mr. Moonves revealed that the LAPD captain shared confidential information and worked with CBS executives for months to prevent the complaint from becoming public.
My immediate question: why is the LAPD captain not named? Will there be consequences? It’s certainly a breach of the public trust, and probably a crime to boot. It’s also interesting that the senior executive who engaged in insider trading was not named either.
CBS and its parent company Paramount would obviously love all this to go away. The AP reports:
A spokesperson for Paramount Global, which owns CBS, said it was “pleased to resolve this matter concerning events from 2018 with the New York Attorney General’s office, without any admission of liability or wrongdoing,” adding that the “matter involved alleged misconduct by CBS’s former CEO, who was terminated for cause in 2018, and does not relate in any way to the current company.”
Moonves is one of the highest-profile names to fall from the mountain in the #metoo era, and he continues to pay the price. To me, however, there’s another scandal that needs to be explained here: what was an LAPD officer doing attempting to help an entertainment executive escape serious sexual harassment allegations? After Moonves resigned, the captain wrote a note to another contact at CBS saying, “We worked so hard to try to avoid this day,” and that he pledged “my allegiance to you.” What?! That’s jaw-dropping stuff.
We need an explanation.