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Lawyer: Client subpoenaed in Fox federal securities inquiry

Last Updated Feb 16, 2017 at 3:20 pm MST

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Federal prosecutors recently subpoenaed a former Fox News employee to testify before a grand jury investigating how 21st Century Fox Inc. handled a sexual harassment scandal, according to her lawyer.

Attorney Judd Burstein disclosed the subpoena Wednesday at a court hearing in a lawsuit filed by former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros, saying it had come from a unit at the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan that handles securities law violations.

The lawyer didn’t identify which client had received the subpoena. He declined further comment on Thursday.

In a statement, Fox News confirmed it has “been in communication with the U.S. attorney’s office for months,” and “have and will continue to co-operate on all inquiries with any interested authorities.” Neither the network nor 21st Century Fox have received subpoenas, it added.

The U.S. attorney’s office on Thursday declined comment.

The scandal erupted in July when Fox News anchor and former “Fox & Friends” co-host Gretchen Carlson sued network chief executive Roger Ailes, claiming she was cut loose after refusing his sexual advances and complaining about harassment in the workplace. Ailes denied the charges, but 21st Century launched an internal investigation.

After other women, including former host Megyn Kelly, came forward with similar allegations later that month, the once-powerful Ailes resigned. The company settled the Carlson suit for a reported $20 million in September.

Tantaros’ suit accuses Ailes of running a “sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-type cult” at the Fox, where she claim she was taken off the air for complaining about it. The network has said she was dismissed for violating her contract in pursuit of a book deal.

On Wednesday, Tantaros’ lawyer was seeking to have her case argued in open court. But a judge ruled it should be resolved in a closed-door arbitration.

The Fox statement said arbitration was “where it always belonged.”