Lawyer for ex-Fox News producer says law enforcement is interested in recordings

Washington — Law enforcement agencies, including the special counsel’s office investigating the events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack, have reached out to lawyers for former Fox News producer Abby Grossberg regarding recordings of discussions involving Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell and baseless claims of voter fraud, according to Grossberg’s attorney.

Gerry Filippatos told CBS News on Wednesday that Grossberg’s legal team had been contacted by “numerous law enforcement authorities” shortly after the tapes were revealed in court filings and aired on television several weeks ago.

The recordings in Grossberg’s possession include discussions between Fox News hosts Maria Bartiromo and Giuliani and Powell, conservative lawyers who pushed to overturn the results of the 2020 election, Filippatos said. They also captured conversations between Bartiromo and Trump campaign officials after President Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 election, according to the attorney.

Filippatos said Grossberg’s attorneys have handed over information about the recordings and would provide the tapes themselves if they were subpoenaed.

“We have voluntarily surrendered to the relevant law enforcement agencies details regarding the approximately 90 Otter tapes in Miss Grossberg’s possession and have engaged in discussions with these law enforcement agencies to receive targeted subpoenas regarding any such tapes that may be of interest to them,” he said. Otter is an app that transcribes audio recordings and is popular with reporters and producers.

MSNBC first reported that the special counsel’s office had expressed interest in Grossberg’s recordings. A spokesman for the special counsel, Jack Smith, declined to comment. Neither Powell nor a lawyer for Giuliani returned requests for comment.

“Whether the subject matter of these released tapes falls within the construct of the special counsel’s office’s investigation, which has been reported by numerous news outlets to be focusing on wire fraud, is for the public to conclude,” Filippatos said. The Washington Post reported this month that Smith’s office is examining whether anyone associated with Trump’s fundraising operation violated wire fraud laws. Trump has denounced the investigation as a politically motivated “witch hunt” and denied all wrongdoing.

Grossberg, who worked for Bartiromo on her show “Sunday Morning Futures,” has audio recordings of conversations the Fox News host had with Giuliani, Powell and “high-ranking members” of Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign, according to an amended complaint filed by Grossberg’s attorneys in Delaware court.

In one of the recorded conversations between Bartiromo and Giuliani, which took place around Nov. 15, 2020, Giuliani admitted the Trump campaign couldn’t prove allegations of fraud involving Dominion Voting Systems, which was at the center of baseless claims that the company helped rig the election against Trump, according to Grossberg’s filing.

In another call transcribed through the Otter app that involved Bartiromo, Grossberg and an unnamed “high-ranking adviser to and spokesperson for” Trump and his campaign, Grossberg asked the adviser whether the campaign had been suspected of voting machines in Georgia purported to be fraudulent, the complaint states.

The Trump adviser said there were no issues with the machines and “stated that the purpose of the call was to highlight the importance of the impending January 6th date as the true ‘backstop’ for determining the validity of the election, as this was ultimately the date when the House and Senate would count the electoral votes,” Grossberg’s lawyers wrote in the filing.

Snippets from the recordings were played in a proceeding in the Dominion’s defamation lawsuit against Fox News filed in Delaware state court, which the network settled at the 11th hour last week. Fox agreed to pay Dominion $787.5 million to resolve the dispute just before the trial began.

“Obviously the tape that we made public that prompted these law enforcement agencies, including the office of the special counsel, to inquire of us broadly speaking involved Republican operatives, Trump campaign officials, and elected officials candidly acknowledging the falsity of the ‘Big Lie’ to Fox News hosts, and those hosts then reporting something contrary to those candidly recorded admissions,” Filippatos said.

Grossberg’s lawyer also said Smartmatic, a separate voting machine company, is seeking the tapes. The company filed a separate defamation lawsuit against Fox and is seeking $2.7 billion.

“We have received a subpoena from Smartmatic that encompasses these tapes and will of course provide them so that Smartmataic does not suffer from the already-sanctioned discovery misconduct that plagued the Dominion litigation,” he said, referring to a Delaware judge’s reproach of Fox’s attorneys after Dominion accused the network of withholding evidence in its case.

Grossberg filed a pair of lawsuits — one in federal court in New York and the other in Delaware state court — alleging that Fox News’ attorneys coerced and impermissibly coached her in preparation for her deposition in Dominion’ lawsuit against Fox. She also alleges that while working at Fox, first for Bartiromo and then as head of booking for then-host Tucker Carlson’s primetime show, she endured a hostile and sexist work environment. She worked for CBS News from 2011 to 2014 and CBS News Radio from 2005 to 2007.

Carlson and Fox parted way on Monday, an abrupt move that came days after Dominion and Fox settled their case.

A spokesperson for the network said in a statement to CBS News that “Abby Grossberg’s allegations in connection with the Dominion case are baseless and she had no bearing on the settlement. We will vigorously defend Fox against all of her unmeritious legal claims, which are riddled with false allegations against the network and our employees.”

Separately, Smith, the special counsel, has been investigating potential interference with the transfer of power after the 2020 election or Congress’s certification of state electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021, during which a mob of Trump’s supporters breached the Capitol building in an attempt to stop lawmakers from reaffirming Mr. Biden’s win.

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