News, Culture & Society

New York AG is investigating NBC News over claims of historical sexual assault

The New York Attorney General is investigating NBC News over claims of historical sexual assault, DailyMail.com has learned exclusively.

The revelation comes one day after it was announced that NBC chairman Andy Lack is out at the peacock network.

More than a dozen women have been interviewed by officials from a Civil Division department dubbed ‘The Weinstein Unit’ following its investigation into the disgraced movie mogul who was jailed earlier this year after being convicted of rape.

In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, former NBC News anchor Linda Vester said she was one of the women interviewed about alleged violations at the network.

‘They wanted to know as many details as I could offer about what Andy Lack’s involvement was in orchestrating a public response against me and a defense or cover-up. He was one of many,’ she revealed.

Sources told DailyMail.com the unit has been looking into claims of sexual harassment and discrimination at the network for at least six months.

Former TV host Linda Vester, 54, was interviewed in January over her alleged assault at the hands of ex Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw.

The New York Attorney General is investigating NBC News over claims of historical sexual assault, DailyMail.com can exclusively reveal. The revelation comes one day after it was announced that NBC chairman Andy Lack (pictured) is out at the peacock network

One woman to speak to the Weinstein unit is former host Linda Vester, 54, (pictured) who was interviewed in January over her alleged assault at the hands of ex Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw

Vester said she had spoken in an 'hours-long' session with investigators and claims she was also asked about a cover-up culture at the broadcaster

One woman to speak to the Weinstein unit is former host Linda Vester, 54, (left) who was interviewed in January over her alleged assault at the hands of ex Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw (right). Vester exclusively told DailyMail.com she had spoken in an ‘hours-long’ session with investigators and claims she was also asked about a cover-up culture at the broadcaster 

Another is believed to be Megyn Kelly, although her reps would not confirm her involvement when approached by DailyMail.com

Another is believed to be Megyn Kelly, although her reps would not confirm her involvement when approached by DailyMail.com

According to Vester, Lack (left) is one of the main targets of the Weinstein Unit's investigation, along with disgraced former Today anchor Matt Lauer and NBC President Noah Oppenheim (right)

According to Vester, Lack (left) is one of the main targets of the Weinstein Unit’s investigation, along with disgraced former Today anchor Matt Lauer and NBC President Noah Oppenheim (right)

She claimed in 2018 the veteran anchor had pinned her against the wall and attempted to kiss her on two separate occasions.

Megyn Kelly was also interviewed by the AG’s office, sources tell DailyMail.com, although her reps would not confirm her involvement.

Vester said she had in an ‘hours-long’ session with investigators and was also asked about a cover-up culture at NBC.

Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com, she said: ‘I was one of numerous women and men who have been interviewed by the state’s Attorney General Civil Division about alleged violations of the state’s Human Rights law regarding sexual harassment and gender discrimination at NBC News.

‘They were very interested because all of us had information about women who had been harassed or retaliated against or both or were discriminated against.

‘We gave interviews either in person or by phone. Mine was January 11.’

She added: ‘They asked me to re-tell, not just the initial harassment I had experienced but also more importantly, they wanted to know about [chairman] Andy Lack and what I knew about his involvement in retaliation against me and by NBC News once I came forward with my story. 

‘They wanted to know as many details as I could offer about what Andy Lack’s involvement was in orchestrating a public response against me and a defense or cover-up. He was one of many.’ 

NBC News and the New York State Attorney General’s Office have been approached for comment by DailyMail.com. 

More than a dozen women have been interviewed by officials from a Civil Division department dubbed 'the Weinstein unit' following its investigation into the disgraced movie mogul who was jailed earlier this year after being convicted of rape

More than a dozen women have been interviewed by officials from a Civil Division department dubbed ‘the Weinstein unit’ following its investigation into the disgraced movie mogul who was jailed earlier this year after being convicted of rape

The investigation comes after NBC parted company with its beleaguered chairman Lack, 72, on Monday, replacing him with Telemundo's Cesar Conde (pictured)

The investigation comes after NBC parted company with its beleaguered chairman Lack, 72, on Monday, replacing him with Telemundo’s Cesar Conde (pictured) 

The investigation comes after NBC parted company with its beleaguered chairman Lack, 72, on Monday, replacing him with Telemundo’s Cesar Conde.  

Lack was in charge of the broadcaster’s output during the 90s and again from 2015. Vester and two other women claimed to have been assaulted by Brokaw during the 90s.

In November 2017, Matt Lauer, the long-term co-host of the Today show, was fired after former staffer Brooke Nevills came forward to claim he had anally raped her in a Sochi hotel room during the 2014 Winter Olympics.

NBC claimed it did not know of any previous claims against Lauer, 62, but Vester claims his predatory behavior was an open secret.

In his book Catch and Kill, Ronan Farrow claimed that Lauer’s behavior was well known to bosses at the network and that Weinstein used his knowledge of the host’s proclivities to suppress reports about his own sexual past.

Farrow’s book also claimed that Lack himself had bullied a woman out of her job as an anchor at CBS after the extramarital affair they were having soured. 

Jane Wallace said Lack was ‘unrelenting’ in his pursuit of her, adding: ‘If your boss does that, what are you gonna say?

‘You know if you say ‘I don’t want to celebrate with you,’ you’re asking for trouble.’

According to Vester, Lack is one of the main targets of the Weinstein Unit’s investigation, along with Lauer and NBC President Noah Oppenheim. 

In November 2017, Matt Lauer, the long-term co-host of the Today show, was fired after former staffer Brooke Nevills came forward to claim he had anally raped her in a Sochi hotel room during the 2014 Winter Olympics. NBC claimed it did not know of any previous claims against Lauer, 62, but Vester claims his predatory behavior was an open secret

In November 2017, Matt Lauer, the long-term co-host of the Today show, was fired after former staffer Brooke Nevills came forward to claim he had anally raped her in a Sochi hotel room during the 2014 Winter Olympics. NBC claimed it did not know of any previous claims against Lauer, 62, but Vester claims his predatory behavior was an open secret

She says she was asked about all three but does not know whether the existence of the investigation contributed to Lack’s exit – or indeed if NBC knows about it.

She said: ‘I would say a minimum of a dozen people gave interviews to the State’s Attorney’s Office with information about alleged misconduct, gender discrimination, retaliation and other discrimination by Andy Lack, the channel’s top brass.

‘Truly none of us knows whether this investigation has had any effect or relation to the ouster of Andy Lack – nobody knows.

‘But this has been going on, the secret initial inquiry began in November and has continued for months. I don’t know the state of play right now but as far as I know, it’s ongoing.’

But Vester also claims Lack’s removal is not enough and told DailyMail.com there are other ‘bad guys’ still left at NBC – some of whom, she says, ‘are known to law enforcement’.

Vester said: ‘I am more concerned that NBC senior management thinks it has rooted out all of the bad guys by ousting Andy Lack when there are several more who are known to law enforcement.

‘The question is, considering Andy Lack is not the only member of NBC top brass who is being looked at by the Attorney General, so is this the end of it or are there other people who are going to be shown the door at NBC News?

‘I certainly hope that NBC is going to conduct an investigation because there are documented sexual harassers who are still in positions of power at NBC.

‘It seems the new management wants to do the right thing and get rid of all the bad guys.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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