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WORD: HarperCollins battle with Judith Regan becomes legal punch-out

One week after publisher HarperCollins terminated the flamboyant Judith Regan for allegedly going on an anti-Jewish rant during a talk with another executive, her lawyer came out firing on Friday, denying the accusations and saying that Regan’s company rival Jane Friedman "couldn't find a legitimate way to get rid of Judith, so they made one up."

Regan, who ran imprint ReganBooks until about a month after getting caught up in the wake of the canceled OJ Simpson book If I Did It, is now in the middle of a bloody punch-out between lawyers.

Regan’s lawyer Bert Fields announced today (Dec. 22) that Carmen del Toro, who worked as a temporary assistant for Judith Regan, overheard the much-publicized conversation and said that Regan absolutely did not say the words "Jewish cabal" or make any other anti-Semitic statement during that discussion.

This sets up what could become a long legal battle, with HarperCollins trying to make the firing of Regan a race-baiting scandal while Regan’s lawyers will approach it as a wrongful termination case.

"This is nothing more than a smear campaign designed to destroy Ms. Regan's reputation and to try to find a way to get out of paying her the money owed under her contract," said Fields. "They will succeed at neither."

HarperCollins is a division of News Corp, which last month apologized for trying to publish If I Did It, a description of how Simpson would have killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman that Regan bought. Company CEO Rupert Murdock had agreed to green light the distasteful book that Simpson acknowledged was "blood money."


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