Published: Saturday, May 5, 2007
Imus lawyer: Bosses could have used the delay button
The former radio show host plans to sue for his unpaid portion of his contract.
NEW YORK (AP) A lawyer for Don Imus said Friday that the former radio host's bosses could have edited the on-air comments that got him fired and the fact that they didn't meant they saw his remarks as routine for his often provocative show.
CBS Radio and MSNBC had delay buttons, but didn't use them when Imus made racist and sexist comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team, lawyer Martin Garbus said on ABC's "Good Morning America."
"That means CBS and MSNBC both knew the language that was going out, and both knew the language complied with [Imus'] contract. ... It was consistent with many of the things he had done," Garbus said.
CBS Radio owns Imus' former home radio station, WFAN-AM, and MSNBC televised his show.
Spokeswomen for CBS Radio and MSNBC had no immediate comment on Garbus' comments early Friday.
Fired from jo
Imus, 66, was dismissed April 12 after describing the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos" on his nationally syndicated radio program. He was barely three months into a five-year, $40 million contract with CBS, and his attorney has said Imus would sue for the contract's unpaid portion.
Garbus cited a contract clause in which CBS acknowledged that Imus' services were "unique, extraordinary, irreverent, intellectual, topical, controversial." The clause said Imus' programming was "desired by company and ... consistent with company rules and policy," according to Garbus.
CBS Radio, in a statement issued Thursday, said it would vigorously contest Imus' claim.
"We terminated Mr. Imus for cause," CBS Radio said in a statement Thursday. "Based on the comments in question and relevant contract terms, we believe that the termination was appropriate and CBS would expect to prevail in any attempt by Mr. Imus to recover money for his actions."
Garbus' past clients include comedian Lenny Bruce, the rap group Public Enemy and filmmaker Spike Lee.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.