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Former CBS CEO Admits Role in Disclosure of Confidential Police Information

Leslie Moonves Fined for Aiding Misuse of Confidential Data in LAPD Complaint

Former CBS CEO Leslie Moonves has acknowledged his involvement in facilitating the disclosure and misuse of confidential information pertaining to a police complaint. Moonves admitted to assisting a former police captain in leveraging his city position to serve Moonves’s personal interests. This acknowledgment comes alongside a maximum fine of $15,000 imposed on Moonves. CBS announced that Moonves would leave the company after the allegations of sexual misconduct in 2018. 

The incident dates back to November 10, 2017, when Cory Palka, then Captain of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Hollywood Division, contacted Ian Melrose, former CBS Senior Vice President of Talent Relations and Special Events. Palka left a voicemail for Metrose, alluding to confidential allegations against Metrose’s superior regarding sexual assault. Moonves was identified as the mentioned “boss” in Palka’s message. Palka’s familiarity with Metrose and Moonves stemmed from Metrose’s prior employment of Palka, with CBS having compensated him for serving as Moonves’s security aide at the Grammy Awards from 2008 through 2014.

According to the police report, Phyllis Gottlieb approached the LAPD Hollywood Division station on the same day, alleging that Moonves sexually assaulted her in 1986. The report, marked as confidential, contained personal information about Gottlieb, including her name, address, phone number, and driver’s license number.

Following Palka’s voicemail, Metrose requested a copy of the police report from Palka on November 11, 2017. Palka promptly forwarded an unredacted copy to Metrose via text message. Metrose then disseminated the report to Moonves, the CBS Chief Communications Officer, and the CBS Chief Security Officer. Moonves, in turn, expressed a desire to speak with Palka’s attorney regarding the matter.

Over the ensuing days, Moonves engaged in multiple text exchanges with Palka through Metrose. They discussed strategies to mitigate media attention and evaluated Gottlieb’s complaint. In one instance, Palka informed Metrose about the District Attorney’s review process, emphasizing the importance of no additional accusers emerging. Metrose relayed these conversations to Moonves.

Moonves, Palka, and Metrose met face-to-face on November 25, 2017, at a restaurant in Westlake Village, California. This meeting, unrelated to the official LAPD investigation, lasted approximately an hour and focused on the ongoing police inquiry. Palka later updated Metrose on Gottlieb’s follow-up interview with the LAPD, a message Metrose passed on to Moonves.

Further text exchanges between Moonves and Palka occurred, including discussions on the credibility of Gottlieb’s complaint and details about the District Attorney’s process. Moonves resigned from CBS in September 2018. Following this development, Palka expressed his support and allegiance to Moonves.

The Office of the New York State Attorney General released a public report on the matter on November 2, 2022, shedding light on the sequence of events surrounding Moonves’s involvement in the misuse of confidential information related to a police complaint.

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