Advertiser sues Don Imus for unscripted comments

NEW YORK Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:45pm EST

Radio personality Don Imus talks on air during his return to radio in New York, December 3, 2007. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Radio personality Don Imus talks on air during his return to radio in New York, December 3, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A book publisher that bought an ad on Don Imus's radio show is suing the shock jock and his former bosses at CBS Radio for more than $4 million, saying Imus insulted the book he was paid to promote.

It was the latest controversy to follow the radio personality, who was fired by CBS Radio in April 2007 for insulting a women's basketball team with a racial slur. He has since returned to the air with another network.

Flatsigned Press said in a New York state court lawsuit filed late on Wednesday that Imus' show had agreed to a script for the 30-second spot in January 2007 to promote a book by former President Gerald Ford on the investigation into the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Imus laughed as he read the script, calling it "cheesy," the lawsuit said. "These bastards have been waiting for him to croak so they can unload" the books, Imus said on the air, according to the lawsuit.

Martin Garbus, Imus' lawyer, said "The lawsuit is without merit and will be dismissed."

Ford served on the Warren Commission that conducted the official inquiry and his book "John F. Kennedy: Assassination Report of the Warren Commission" was published shortly after Ford died in December 2006.

"Imus unilaterally changed the language of the live read, which was completely contrary the agreement agreed upon by the parties," the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also names Infinity Broadcasting Corp., Sports Radio 66-WFAN and CBS Radio. Infinity, which used to be a division of Viacom Inc., became part of CBS Radio when CBS and Viacom split in 2006.

"Imus in the Morning" was produced and broadcast by the CBS-owned WFAN radio station in New York and syndicated on some 60 stations nationally. The program also was simulcast on cable television's MSNBC, but MSNBC did not air the ad and was not sued.

In December, Imus returned to radio with a nationally syndicated show broadcast out of WABC in New York in a deal with ABC Radio Networks, which is owned by Citadel Broadcasting Corp.

(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Eric Beech)

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