A former ABC News producer has filed a $ 10 million lawsuit against the Disney-owned network, claiming it falsely accused her of leaking the infamous video of anchor Amy Robach venting on a “hot mic” about her bosses killing a story to protect now-deceased child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, according to the New York Post.
Ashley Bianco was a producer on ABC’s “Good Morning America” before joining “CBS This Morning” last year, but she was abruptly fired by CBS News after ABC executives allegedly informed CBS she’d had access to a leaked hot mic video that revealed the Disney-owned network killed an Epstein scoop.
The controversial group, Project Veritas, published the damning video which Bianco has long said she did not leak. Citing a Manhattan Supreme Court summons, the Post reported that Bianco accused ABC News of defaming her.
“Shortly after the video was publicized, defendants moved swiftly to find a scapegoat, and to that end, they knowingly made false accusations against [Bianco],” the summons said, according to the Post. “They further destroyed her career in the news industry and damaged her reputation.”
ABC News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“I did not” leak the tape, Bianco told journalist Megyn Kelly in an interview on YouTube shortly after the incident. “I’m not the whistleblower. I’m sorry to ABC, but the leaker is still inside.”
At the time, Bianco denied ever communicating with anyone from Project Veritas and said she simply made a clip of the video and saved it in ABC’s internal system. Bianco said she was watching the feed from her desk when Robach made the now-infamous comments about ABC News refusing to air her Epstein reporting.
“I had seen what she was saying and I went to my manager,” Bianco told Kelly. “I essentially marked it in the system, it never left the system. We do it all the time. … I may have accessed it but I never leaked it, I never showed it to anyone.”
Bianco told Kelly she only jumped to a new job at CBS because the network made her a better offer. She’d worked at CBS for four days before being fired as a result of the leaked footage.
Reporter Yashar Ali had cited “two sources with knowledge of the situation” who claimed ABC News honchos “believe they know the identity” of a former employee with access to the viral footage. Ali added that ABC executives informed CBS that the potential leaker was now working at CBS, sometimes referred to as the Tiffany Network.
Bianco was fired less than 24 hours after Ali’s initial report.
Bianco has maintained that she never intended to embarrass Robach or ABC and enjoyed her time at the Disney-owned network.
Project Veritas, whose founder, James O’Keefe, describes himself as a “guerrilla journalist,” published the footage, which included Robach saying ABC refused to air an interview she conducted with one of Epstein’s victims because the British royal family had objected.
Despite widespread criticism, ABC News downplayed the significance of the video, telling Fox News that Robach’s Epstein story wasn’t fit to air.
“At the time, not all of our reporting met our standards to air, but we have never stopped investigating the story. Ever since, we’ve had a team on this investigation and substantial resources dedicated to it,” an ABC News spokesperson told Fox News at the time. “That work has led to a two-hour documentary and six-part podcast that will air in the new year.”