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Roger Ailes Loyalist Takes Sudden Leave of Absence from Fox

October 9, 2017, 11:42 AM UTC

A lawyer accused of concealing inappropriate behavior by ousted Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes has taken a sudden voluntary leave.

Dianne Brandi is the executive vice president of legal and business affairs at Fox. Little detail was included in the announcement of her departure by the company late on Friday, but The New York Times reported that the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan is looking at Brandi’s activities as part of an investigation into the handling of sexual assault accusations at the network.

Brandi’s unexpected leave follows more than a year of high-profile departures from the network, kicked off by the resignation of former chairman Roger Ailes after accusations of sexual misconduct in July 2016. Now one of the last remaining Ailes loyalists in the building, some speculate that Brandi has merely run out of people who will protect her.

A number of sexual-harassment lawsuits against Fox News have named Brandi, the most recent of which is a lawsuit filed last month by Scottie Nell Hughes, who says she was taken off the air after saying the host Charles Payne had raped her.

It is unclear whether Brandi received compensation for distancing herself from the company. Her departure is the latest in a series of developments that may appease British regulators as they parse Fox’s $15 billion bid for a controlling stake in Sky, the U.K.’s biggest pay-TV company. The deal is currently under review by U.K. antitrust authorities after the government expressed concerns both about ‘media plurality’ and more specifically about governance and reporting standards at Fox.