Former CBS Executive Les Moonves to Pay Los Angeles Ethics Fine for Interference in Police Probe

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
February 20, 2024California
Former CBS Executive Les Moonves to Pay Los Angeles Ethics Fine for Interference in Police Probe
CBS president Leslie Moonves attends the CBS Network 2015 Programming Upfront at The Tent at Lincoln Center in New York on May 13, 2015. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

LOS ANGELES—Former CBS chief executive and president Les Moonves has agreed to pay a $11,250 fine to settle a complaint accusing him of interfering with a police investigation of a sexual assault case, according to documents released Friday by the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission.

According to the documents, Mr. Moonves acknowledged working closely with then-Capt. Cory Palka of the Los Angeles Police Department in 2017 to obtain information about a sexual assault victim’s confidential police report against him.

Mr. Palka, who had provided private security for Mr. Moonves between 2008 and 2014 at the Grammy Awards, which CBS produced, notified network officials about the complaint against the executive in November 2017, the documents show.

Through Mr. Palka, they say, Mr. Moonves obtained an unredacted copy of the police report, which also included personal information such as the home address and phone number of the accuser. Mr. Moonves also met with Mr. Palka for an hour at a restaurant to discuss the complaint and ways to quash it.

Mr. Moonves was accused of three violations of city rules.

An attorney representing him didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Mr. Palka retired in 2021 as a commander after nearly 35 years with the LAPD.

Los Angeles’ Government Ethics Ordinance governs the conduct of city employees and forbids them from misusing or disclosing confidential information acquired through their work. The commission will meet next week to discuss the settlement.

Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb reported to police in the LAPD’s Hollywood Division that she had been sexually assaulted by Mr. Moonves in 1986 and 1988 when they worked together at Lorimar Productions.

Golden-Gottlieb, who went public with her accusations in 2018, died in 2022.

The police interference allegations against Mr. Moonves came to light in 2022, when New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a settlement in which CBS and Mr. Moonves agreed to pay $30.5 million for keeping shareholders in the dark while executives tried to prevent the sexual assault allegations from becoming public.

Mr. Moonves acknowledged having relations with three of his accusers but said they were consensual. He denied attacking anyone, saying in a statement at the time, “Untrue allegations from decades ago are now being made against me.”

The Los Angeles County district attorney declined to file criminal charges against Mr. Moonves in 2018, saying the statute of limitations from Golden-Gottlieb’s allegations had expired.

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