A federal prosecutor reportedly is investigating the alleged hack of internal Fox News video footage of Tucker Carlson, as clips have surfaced on Vice and watchdog group Media Matters for America.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that the probe is linked to a recent FBI search of the home of media consultant Tim Burke, who formerly worked for Deadspin and The Daily Beast, and is married to Tampa Bay City Councilwoman Lynn Hurtak.
The Times obtained a letter that federal prosecutor Jay Trezevant sent to the network, in which he wrote that Fox News was one of the “potential victim-witnesses” of the hacking. The investigation is of alleged unauthorized computer access, interception of wire, oral or electronic communication and conspiracy, among other potential charges.
No one has been accused of wrongdoing or charged, the Times reported. William Daniels, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney in Tampa, told Deadline that the office had no information given that the investigation is ongoing. A spokesperson for Fox News declined comment, and Burke and Hurtak did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
Around the time of the search of their home, Hurtak said that the search appeared to be “solely related to my husband’s work as a journalist.”
In October, Vice News’ Motherboard obtained and posted outtakes from Carlson’s interview with Kanye West. They showed that Carlson left out clips where West makes antisemitic comments and other bizarre claims.
After Carlson was dropped from Fox News late last month, the progressive watchdog group Media Matters for America, under the banner Fox Leaks, posted a series of internal clips of the host. Among other things in the clips, Carlson bashed the network’s streaming service Fox Nation, where he had a regular show, and made offensive comments about women.
Fox News fired off a cease and desist letter to Media Matters over the footage, but the organization quickly rejected their demands. A spokesperson for Vice declined comment, and a Media Matters rep did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Carlson has announced that he will be bringing his show to Twitter. His attorney, Bryan Freedman, sent a letter to the network claiming that it breached his Fox News contract. Carlson’s agreement runs through 2025 and is said to include a non-compete clause. Freeman also has suggested that the network is behind the leak of Carlson’s private communications.
Burke appeared in the Netflix documentary Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist, in which he recounted his work for Deadspin on a story that revealed that Notre Dame football player Manti Te’o’s story about the death of his girlfriend was a hoax.