CBS Inquiry Into What Went Wrong in Les Moonves Era Hits Snags as It Advances


A second, more formal investigation started in April, when the corporate compliance and legal department of the CBS corporate arm retained the law firm Proskauer Rose to investigate Mr. Rose and the network’s news division.

By the time the firm got started in the spring, four months had passed since the publication of The Post’s investigative article about Mr. Rose, who was fired by the network the day after the story appeared. (Mr. Rose apologized for “inappropriate behavior,” adding that he believed some of the allegations against him were “not accurate.”)

Proskauer Rose’s investigation was quiet in its first weeks. There was no public announcement. Several members of the CBS News staff said they were surprised to learn about it when David Rhodes, the news division’s president, informed staff members in an email on May 3.

Taking the lead for Proskauer Rose was Bettina B. Plevan, a partner who specializes in labor and employment law. She had ties to CBS. According to public records, Ms. Plevan had defended the network against allegations of discrimination, retaliation or harassment in at least three lawsuits.

Some current and former CBS News employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, questioned Proskauer Rose’s approach. They said they were not contacted by investigators, although they had worked closely with Mr. Rose or had other reasons to speak authoritatively about women who worked in the news division.

The CBS Corporation board did not coordinate with CBS News when it announced the current investigation on Aug. 1. In an email to staff members the next morning, Mr. Rhodes said that “our read of last night’s board announcement is that Proskauer will continue to investigate issues at News, and the findings will be part of the larger CBS investigation.”

Days later, Ms. Plevan stopped work on the case, after handing her materials over to Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton, the firms in charge of the current investigation. By that time, Proskauer Rose had spoken with roughly 25 current and former CBS News employees, according to a spokeswoman for the law firm.


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