As the investigation continues and threats of new lawsuits swirl in the allegations that Fox News Channel’s now suspended Eric Bolling sent lewd texts to colleagues, the outlet’s battle with Andrea Tantaros has taken another strange twist.
Fighting back against moves by FNC and a former on-air contributor to toss the Ex-Outnumbered and The Five co-host’s federal case claiming “extremely high-tech” hacking and a “professional/career assassination,” Tantaros’ attorney is now throwing serious suspicion on the big bucks paid to one Pete Snyder by the cable newser.
“Snyder has admittedly been a Fox News on-air contributor through April 2017, and he received greater compensation than other contributors who made more appearances – indeed, Snyder received $15,000 a month to do next to nothing in terms of on-air contributions,” says a memorandum in opposition to tech investor Snyder’s motion to dismiss the action first filed in late April (read it here). “In fact, upon information that based upon an analysis performed by Plaintiff’s counsel, Mr. Snyder was paid $11,489.36 per appearance, which is more than 16 times greater than the fee paid to the far-better-known on-air contributor, Bo Dietl,” the 31-page document filed on August 10 adds of the failed Virginia politician and long time FNC contributor.
With her initial $50 million harassment lawsuit of last summer moved to arbitration by a New York state judge earlier this year, the federal case filed by lawyer Judd Burstein for Tantaros in the spring cast a wide net of online “sock puppets” and other digital intrusions upon his client. In that net, the often aggressive attorney has fingered Snyder as handling dirty cyberduties for former FNC boss Roger Ailes over the years, including alleged attacks on Tantaros. In late May, the FNC defendants filed a motion to see the matter dismissed. In late June, Snyder and his Disruptor, Inc then filed a motion to have Tantaros’ claims thrown out of court or tossed behind closed doors into arbitration.
In yesterday’s filing in opposition, Tantaros and Burstein are essentially saying, follow the money.
“That set of circumstances gives rise to a fair inference that the Snyder Defendants were compensated for their cyber-attacks on behalf of Fox News through padded paychecks ostensibly for Snyder’s limited on-air contributions,” the plaintiff asserts of the big bucks Snyder received for his appearances on FNC over the years. “Additionally, there are numerous media reports about slush funds maintained by Ailes and Fox News for just the type of nefarious purposes alleged herein,” the filing notes, before going in for the inferred kill. “It could easily be technically accurate that the Snyder Defendants were not compensated directly by Fox News, but substantively dishonest in that they were paid indirectly out of a slush fund that could not be readily traced to Fox News.”
Slush fund – that’s the simmering gun that Team Tantaros wants in front of the court.
Fox News did not respond to request for comment from Deadline, that’s the last kinda word for now on this latest turn in this case that could be straight out a B-plot from Homeland. However, Snyder’s attorney Randy Mastro did issue a statement, that said in part, “this is the game Ms. Tantaros and her lawyer are playing, smearing a good person like Pete Snyder who has nothing to do with their blood feud with Fox News,” The lawyer added, “we are 100% confident that we will prevail in a court of law and get her and her counsel sanctioned for what they have done to Pete Snyder.”
The primary defendants in the case are, of course, Snyder and Disruptor, Fox News Network, the now deceased Ailes, ex-FNC co-president Bill Shine, other FNC execs and various John Does.