Jul 31, 2018

Report: Prosecutors decline to pursue sex abuse charges against CBS chief

Les Moonves attends the 2017 CBS Upfront at The Plaza Hotel. Photo: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

Los Angeles prosecutors have declined to pursue sex abuse charges that were filed in February against longtime CBS chief executive and current Chairman Les Moonves citing the expiration of the statute of limitations, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: The charges were filed months before the explosive piece was published alleging Moonves of sexually harassing six women between the 1980s and late 2000s. It's been reported that Moonves' behavior was a hidden secret amongst media elites for years, which makes it difficult to believe that executives at CBS and its independent Board of Directors did not know about the situation prior to Ronan Farrow's report in the New Yorker.

The details: The woman, who was not identified, claims she was an acquaintance of Moonves and outlined three instances in which she said Moonves assaulted her in the 1980s. Its unclear if she's tied to any of the women additional cited in Farrow's piece who did not go on the record due to nondisclosure agreements.

Between the lines: Many members of the media were surprised when CBS' independent Board of Directors declined to suspend Moonves after their meeting on — a practice that's common amongst companies when allegations against executives have been surfaced during that #MeToo movement.

  • In an opinion piece in The New York Times published Tuesday, columnist James Stewart says "it’s hard to believe the board would have authorized the suit — whose goal, in part, was to protect Mr. Moonves in the face of a perceived threat from Ms. Redstone — if it had reason to believe that Mr. Moonves was facing serious accusations of misconduct."

The bottom line: If these charges were filed with the police in February, it makes it harder to imagine that CBS' board had no reason to believe Moonves was facing serious allegations of misconduct.

Go deeper

Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.

Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.