Fox News legal counsel, named in lawsuits, taking leave

NEW YORK (AP) Fox News said Friday that the network's legal counsel, who is named in lawsuits relating to the late former CEO Roger Ailes' regime, is taking a "voluntary leave."

Fox offered no additional details Friday on the departure of Dianne Brandi, including whether she is being paid or if she will return. She was a powerful leader at Fox under Ailes, who was forced out last year because of harassment charges.

Brandi has been named in pending lawsuits by former and current employees who alleged she did not act on complaints of harassment or discrimination against them by executives, and even retaliated against people who made charges. Brandi has denied the accusations.

She was named in cases filed by former on-air contributors Julie Roginsky and Andrea Tantaros, who both had complained about harassment by Ailes. She was also a part of a racial discrimination case involving several employees and a since-fired financial executive at Fox.

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Douglas Wigdor, a lawyer for several of the people with cases against Fox, called the announcement of Brandi's leave "long overdue." He said the real question is whether Fox will apologize to the people he represents.

Former Fox co-president, Bill Shine, left the network in May after also being named in lawsuits for failing to correct behavior at the network. Popular personality Bill O'Reilly was ousted this spring when it was revealed Fox had paid five women a total of $13 million to keep quiet about harassment allegations.