A Manhattan appeals panel on Monday threw out the remaining claims in veteran newsman Dan Rather’s $70 million suit against his former employer, CBS. Rather alleged CBS caved to political pressure by forcing him out of his anchor chair and denying him the opportunity to cover important news stories after he narrated a controversial 2004 broadcast about President George W. Bush’s Vietnam-era military service — a broadcast Rather said he believed was true. Under Rather’s 1979 contract, the network had no obligation to “use [Rather's] services or to broadcast any program” as long as it kept paying him his annual $6 million salary, a deal the network upheld until it fired Rather in June 2006, a unanimous panel of the Appellate Division, 1st Department, concluded.
The panel also found “insufficiently supported” Rather’s claim that the network had damaged his business prospects by “warehousing” him for 15 months. “Since, according to Rather’s own allegations, an immediate result of the September 8, 2004 broadcast was criticism that he was biased against Bush, it would be speculative to conclude that any action taken by CBS would have alone substantially affected his market value at that time,” Justice James M. Catterson wrote. Rather, 77, who worked at CBS for 40 years, is now a correspondent for the cable channel HDNet.
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