Reporter Judith Miller and The New York Times are in negotiations over the terms under which she would possibly agree to leave the paper.
According to a source familiar with the discussions, there are three issues on the table. The first is how much severance Miller would receive, the second concerns whether she will be given space on the Op-Ed page to answer critics and the third is whether the Times and Miller will issue a joint statement defining the terms of her departure.
Miller declined to comment. Miller’s attorney, Robert Bennett, and Times lawyer George Freeman, did not return calls for comment.
Multiple sources sympathetic to Miller’s case said they did not anticipate Miller leaving until her conditions were met.
“The sense I have is that it’s not a question of dismissing her. If she won’t go, she won’t go,” said one source.
On Monday, the Observer reported that Miller had met with publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. Today, The Wall Street Journal reported that the meeting had touched on severance.
Miller’s potential departure is complicated by the fact that she is protected by the Newspaper Guild’s contract with the paper. The contract limits the paper’s ability to fire employees at will.
A source with knowledge of the proceedings said Miller has not ruled out legal action if her proposed conditions are not met.
“She will not leave under these circumstances, not in a defamatory atmosphere,” the source said.
–Anna Schneider-Mayerson and Gabriel Sherman