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Dan Rather moving ahead with CBS lawsuit

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Former “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather was back in court Tuesday asking for a second chance at claims against the network that a judge dismissed April 10.

Television news anchor Dan Rather speaks during an interview in New York, November 7, 2006. Rather was back in court Tuesday asking for a second chance at claims against the network that a judge dismissed April 10.REUTERS/Keith Bedford

Rather and his lawyer, Martin Gold, argued that they should be able to submit an amended complaint “to replead the legal claims that were dismissed” by New York judge Ira Gammerman.

Gold said the court would entertain the motion; CBS News’ attorney Jim Quinn said the judge had significantly limited discovery.

Rather filed a $70 million breach of contract lawsuit last September, more than a year after he parted with the network. Gammerman scratched a portion relating to fraud, saying Rather was too late to file it. He also said Rather’s claim that CBS had damaged his future job prospects was unsubstantiated.

Next up is discovery on both sides that is likely to include depositions on such issues as the 2004 “60 Minutes II” report on President Bush’s military service in the Texas Air National Guard, the report CBS News commissioned in the wake of the flap and whether Rather was given sufficient airtime per his contract.

Rather likely be deposed by CBS’ lawyers.

“We’ll finally get Dan in the chair,” Quinn said of the deposition that likely will take days.

“We’re going to ask him questions related to the basis of his claims because we don’t believe there is any basis,” he said.

Rather said Tuesday that the suit is “alive and well and moving forward. Reports of its demise seem to be wishful thinking on the part of some.” He said the punitive and compensatory damages -- in the area of $70 million -- remain.

“Soon we’ll have those who were in a position to know what happened with their right hands up in the air,” Rather said. “That is when hopefully we will get the truth, which is all I ever wanted.”

Quinn said Tuesday that the discovery would be limited to what happened after the September 2004 broadcast. He also said that CBS was prepared to show the court video of Rather’s appearances on “60 Minutes II” and “60 Minutes” following his March 2005 departure from the anchor chair.

“How he could say he was not utilized is hard to imagine,” Quinn said. “We’ll have it all in living color when need be.”

For its part, CBS News said: “We are gratified that the judge has significantly limited the scope of discovery to matters still pending before the court. We are also pleased the court affirmed its dismissal of the fraud claim. We will contest any attempts by Mr. Rather to recast this claim and we are confident that we will prevail.”

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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