Today, the legal teams for Dan Rather and CBS were back in New York Supreme Court in Lower Manhattan.
During a brief hearing, the two sides told Justice Ira Gammerman that they had more or less reached an agreement on most of the issues, regarding the discovery process in Mr. Rather’s $70 million civil suit against his former bosses.
Lawyer Jim Quinn, who is representing CBS, told the Media Mob on Wednesday afternoon, that CBS had agreed to produce “virtually all of the materials” which Mr. Rather’s lawyers had asked for.
That group of documents, according to Mr. Quinn, will include the findings of one Erik T. Rigler.
A refresher: During the aftermath of CBS’ report in Sept. 2004 on President Bush’s military record—and the subsequent controversy which would become known as Rathergate—CBS hired Mr. Rigler, a former Navy aviator and F.B.I. agent, in part to get to the bottom of the controversial documents at the heart of the affair.
Mr. Rigler’s findings were never made public nor (as the Observer reported in November) were they made available to Mr. Rather, a fact that continued to bother the relentless newsman.
In the coming weeks, Mr. Rather will finally get his hands on Mr. Rigler’s findings.
On Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Quinn suggested that Mr. Rather would be disappointed by the report, which he said, rather than validating the plaintiff’s claims would, in fact, do “just the opposite.”
“Today Judge Gammerman confirmed that he wants discovery to move forward and be completed quickly,” said Jane G. Stevens, a member of Mr. Rather’s legal team, in a statement. “CBS and Viacom will start producing documents requested by Mr. Rather shortly and we are pleased that Mr. Rather’s meritorious claims are advancing.”
Justice Gammerman has yet to make a final ruling on CBS’ motion to dismiss the case. Mr. Quinn said that he thought there was still a chance that the justice would rule against Mr. Rather in summary judgment but, if not, CBS was prepared to go to trial.
“We’re really not worried about it,” said Mr. Quinn.
The parties are scheduled to be back in court again in late February.