Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has revealed to Newsmax new details of what he said was “shocking” efforts to attack President Trump’s reputation.
O’Reilly says his information also raises serious questions about the motives behind new allegations that have been made against him.
O’Reilly told Newsmax on Monday that investigators working for him had uncovered an audio recording of “an anti-Trump attorney” offering an unidentified woman $200,000 to file sexual harassment charges against then-presidential candidate Donald J. Trump.
“It exists,” O’Reilly said. “We have urged the person who has the tape to hand it over to the U.S. attorney, because my investigative team believes there are three separate crimes on the audio tape.”
O’Reilly tells Newsmax his attorneys have listened to the tape. O’Reilly stated he is not in possession of the recording, but the conversation is believed to have taken place before last year’s presidential election.
“It’s related to my situation,” O’Reilly insists, “and when the tape emerges, you will see why. I can’t say any more than that, but it is related to my situation.”
After a controversial 2005 Access Hollywood tape was leaked last October that recorded Trump boasting about groping or kissing women, several women stepped forward to claim the billionaire had engaged in inappropriate activity with them. None were former employees and none claimed Trump engaged in physical coercion.
Trump has brushed off allegations, including a recent court subpoena from one woman.
“All I can say is it’s totally fake news – just fake,” declared Trump last week. “It’s fake, it’s made up stuff. And it’s disgraceful what happens.”
The issue of sexual harassment has received renewed attention in the wake of revelations Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein had engaged in predatory actions against women, with some claiming he had raped them.
The New York Times reported Saturday that O’Reilly reached a $32 million settlement this past January with former Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl, after she apparently reported claims of unwanted sexual advances and harassment.
An affidavit signed by Wiehl as part of the settlement stated: “We have since resolved all of our issues. I would no longer make the allegations contained in the draft complaint.”
O’Reilly said much of the recent attacks against him are related to his supportive coverage of Trump during the election.
“I gave him [Trump] a fair shot,” O’Reilly tells Newsmax. “And I don’t think it’s any accident that the two men who were targeted by Media Matters, the Bonner Group, [and] Color of Change, were me and Sean Hannity, the most visible people who gave Donald Trump a fair shake.
“I don’t think that’s an accident, but that’s an opinion.”
O’Reilly’s team of attorneys and investigators have been probing other allegations raised against him.
In September, Newsmax reported that one accuser, a former Fox employee, had been arrested in 2015 by Detroit police for making false allegations against her boyfriend.
The woman had said O’Reilly made disparaging comments to her, including calling her “hot chocolate.”
O’Reilly maintains that during his long media career, not a single human resources complaint was ever filed against him for inappropriate conduct or harassment.
Since the report of O’Reilly’s $32 million settlement surfaced, former Fox colleagues Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly have said they had raised concerns about his behavior.
O’Reilly said he was surprised by the attacks.
“I had a good working relationship with Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly,” he said.
To support that claim, he posted on his BillOReilly.com website undated notes from both women.
One handwritten note from Kelly and her husband Doug states “You’ve become a dear friend (no matter what you say) & I am grateful to have you in my life.”
Another note from Carlson states: “Bill – Thank you for being the calm in the sea. Thank you so much for supporting me. Thank you for being my friend. It means the world to me.”
Asked how long he believes it will be before the tape of the “anti-Trump lawyer” soliciting sexual harassment complaints against Trump becomes public, O’Reilly replied, “I can’t tell you, because I thought that tape would have been out already.”