Ailes lawyer: Latest sexual harassment claims are ‘total hogwash’

Ailes lawyer: Latest sexual harassment claims are ‘total hogwash’
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The lawyer for former Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes said Monday that sexual harassment claims by Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky were “total hogwash.”

“Mr. Ailes vociferously denies her allegations,” Ailes's attorney, Susan Estrich, said in a statement sent to several media outlets. “Her interactions with Mr. Ailes were not even close to the fictional version she wants people to believe now.

“The idea that Mr. Ailes would pressure Ms. Roginsky or any other women to have sexual relations with him is total nonsense,” she continued. 

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“In short, this copycat complaint is not about discrimination or retaliation. This is about someone who wants to pile-on in a massive character assassination in order to achieve what she did not accomplish on the merits.”

Roginsky hit the network with a lawsuit on Monday in the New York Supreme Court. 
 
The 43-year-old Democratic strategist, who regularly appeared on news discussion programs “Outnumbered” and “The Five,” claims that Ailes sexually harassed her and that when she refused his advances, she was denied a full-time hosting opportunity. 
 
Roginsky is represented by the same attorneys who handled former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit, which was filed in July in New Jersey. 

Ailes resigned two weeks after Carlson's suit following an internal investigation led by outside law firm Paul, Weiss Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. 

The Justice Department is also currently investigating Fox regarding payments to various Ailes accusers.

Roginsky claims a promotion to a regular spot co-hosting “The Five” was “contingent upon having a sexual relationship with Ailes.”

She said she refused and the position was awarded to political commentator Juan Williams instead in late 2015. Williams is also a columnist for The Hill.

Roginsky has appeared on Fox News since 2005. She signed on as an exclusive contributor to the network in 2011 and has been renewed three times since, according to the complaint. 

“Ailes repeatedly called Roginsky into his office for one-on-one meetings, telling her that he really liked her on ‘The Five,’ ” states the complaint. 
 
“During these meetings, Ailes would frequently steer the conversation to Roginsky's personal life by asking, among other things, if she was dating anyone, why she was not married, what she was looking for in a man, and remarking that he did not understand why she was still single since she was so attractive.”

Ailes would allegedly “consistently position himself in such a way as to look down Roginsky's dress,” adds the complaint.

Roginsky also alleges that the network's lead lawyer, Dianne Brandi, was aware of her allegations against Ailes but that no one internally instructed her on how to contact investigators at the law firm that looked into Ailes following the Carlson suit. She also claims executives “took no action to investigate” and “kept Ailes’s conduct secret and enabled it.”

The lawsuit cites damage to Roginsky's career advancement and mental and physical pain. She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. 

The Hill has reached out to Fox News and Roginsky for comment.