Today, in New York Supreme Court, in response to Dan Rather’s civil lawsuit, CBS filed a lengthy 30-page motion to dismiss the case.
CBS executives also released a statement today, noting that they are "mystified" by Rather’s "bizarre allegations" but will "vigorously" defend themselves in court if need be.
"Dan Rather is one of the most important figures in the history of broadcast journalism, and for more than 40 years was one of our most valued colleagues," CBS said in the statement. "That is why we at CBS are mystified and saddened by the baseless and self-serving allegations and distortions of fact raised in his lawsuit."
"Today we are filing a motion to dismiss," added the statement. "If we are required to proceed beyond this point, we will defend the case vigorously and demonstrate that the lawsuit is wholly without merit, and that the bizarre allegations by Mr. Rather are untrue."
UPDATE: In the motion, CBS lawyers argue that Mr. Rather’s lawsuit is a "thinly-disguised" defamation suit and therefore is time-barred because of a one-year statute of limitations. To wit: They point out that the last "allegedly wrongful act" took place on June, 16 2006, and that Mr. Rather did not file suit until September 19, 2007, roughly 15 months later.
Furthermore, CBS lawyers argue that Mr. Rather’s actions are motivated not by any wrongful actions on the part of the defendants but, instead, by Mr. Rather’s desire to stay in the limelight.
"This lawsuit is a regrettable attempt by plaintiff Dan Rather to remain in the public eye, and to settle old scores and perceived slights, based on an array of far-fetched allegations," the lawyers write.
"The Complaint is predicated on allegations of a bizarre ‘scheme’ extending from the White House to an array of CBS executives including Sumner Redstone, CBS’s Executive Chairman, Leslie Moonves, CBS’s Chief Executive Officer, and Andrew Heyward, formerly president of CBS News, all of whom, according to Rather, colluded to harm Rather’s reputation and keep him off the air," add CBS lawyers. "Of course, there was no such nefarious scheme, and Rather’s allegations bear no resemblance to reality. CBS and its executives are not now, and never have been, out to get Dan Rather."