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Judith Regan sues News Corp.

Judith Regan, former president of HarperCollins’ ReganBooks division who was fired last year following her controversial plan to publish O.J. Simpson’s If I Did It, is suing HarperCollins’ parent company, News Corp., for $100 million for defamation.

Bloomberg Press reports that Regan’s complaint, filed yesterday, alleges that News Corp. made her a scapegoat for the O.J. Simpson fiasco, fired her without cause, and fabricated stories to discredit her.

Murdoch personally approved the Simpson book and suggested paying $1 million for the project, Regan claims in her suit. When the controversy erupted over the project, the defendants planted false stories in the press to discredit her, Regan said, including one allegation that she was fired because she made anti-Semitic comments and had claimed to be the victim of a “Jewish cabal” in the book industry.

Regan also claims that News Corp. “tried to destroy her reputation because she has information about former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik that would be harmful to ex-New York Mayor Giuliani and his presidential campaign.”

While not specifying what information she has about Kerik, who she claims had a “personal relationship” with her, Regan said that an unidentified News Corp. executive told her to withhold information and documents from investigators in their probe of the former police commissioner.

Kerik, who was appointed to the post by then-New York City Mayor Giuliani, was indicted Nov. 9 by a federal grand jury on charges of tax evasion, conspiracy and lying to the White House. He pleaded guilty last year to state charges that he accepted thousands of dollars in gifts while in office.

Kerik turned down a 2004 offer by President George W. Bush to run the Homeland Security Department, a post Giuliani recommended him for, after it was disclosed that Kerik failed to pay taxes for a nanny that worked for him.

It will be up to the court to determine what the truth is and if there are some innocent victims here, but the phrase ‘nest of vipers’ keeps coming to mind. Quillblog does not envy the judge in this case.