CBS Corp chief Leslie Moonves has hired Hollywood heavyweight attorney Daniel Petrocelli to represent him, Deadline has confirmed. This comes as the CBS board of directors continues overseeing multiple investigations into alleged past harassment by Moonves, as well as questions of an inappropriate culture at CBS News, that surfaced in an exposé last month in The New Yorker.
Petrocelli has been at the center of several high-profile Hollywood cases, including repping Warner Bros in its long-running dispute over rights to Superman. He also was the attorney representing AT&T in its recent antitrust trial against the U.S. Department of Justice, which was attempting to block the Time Warner merger. AT&T won decisively in a landmark decision, but the DOJ said it is appealing.
Petrocelli also was the lawyer for Donald Trump in a pair of class action lawsuits against Trump University; the sides reached a settlement agreement in March 2017.
Currently, Petrocelli is repping 20th Century Fox in its employment-contract dispute with Netflix.
In early August, CBS’ board appointed a special committee and a pair of high-powered law firms — Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton — to investigate claims from six women that Moonves sexually harassment them in incidents from the 1980s to the early 2000s. He remains CEO of the company but has no role in the investigation.
CBS’ board recently took over a third investigations into allegations involving its former CBS This Morning host Charlie Rose, who was fired after eight women came forward detailing allegations in the Washington Post.
“I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances,” Moonves told The New Yorker in the July 27 story. “Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected—and abided by the principle—that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career.”