[There was a video here]
The Nassau County Police Department has acknowledged in a court filing that Bill O'Reilly played a role in an internal affairs investigation into an NCPD detective, confirming a key element of Gawker's exclusive story last August detailing how the Fox News blowhard tried to have the cop who was dating his wife investigated by his own police department.
In August, Gawker reported that the NCPD launched an internal affairs unit (IAU) investigation into an unnamed detective at the behest of O'Reilly, who believed that the detective was romantically involved with his wife Maureen McPhilmy O'Reilly. According to my source, O'Reilly asked then-commissioner Lawrence Mulvey, who is a personal friend, to look into the detective and "tell [him] to back off." The department's internal affairs unit subsequently launched an inquiry—aided by two private investigators hired by O'Reilly—into the detective for no reason other than his alleged dalliance with McPhilmy. At the time, my source said, O'Reilly was believed to be mulling a major donation to the nonprofit Nassau County Police Department Foundation, which is financing the construction of planned $48 million police training facility.
"These internal affairs cops were on the case at the behest of Mulvey in order to get O'Reilly's funds," the source said at the time. The NCPD refused to confirm or deny the story's particulars, and Fox News didn't comment.
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But now the NCPD has been compelled to admit in court that O'Reilly was indeed involved in an internal affairs investigation into one of its detectives. After the NCPD denied my Freedom of Information Law request and subsequent appeal seeking records related to O'Reilly, I filed a FOIL petition in Nassau County Supreme Court seeking to force the department to hand them over. (I initially filed the petition acting as my own attorney; a New York Civil Liberties Union attorney has since agreed to take the case.)
Earlier this month, the NCPD's attorney responded to the petition by acknowledging that the records I sought—including any correspondence to or from O'Reilly or his wife, logs of calls to or from O'Reilly or his wife, and records of police visits to O'Reilly's or McPhilmy's homes—are "records of an Internal Affairs Investigation ('IAI')...that was conducted on a detective in the Nassau County Police Department. This investigation involved alleged violations of the rules and regulations of the Nassau County Police Department as well as allegations of misconduct."
The NCPD also filed a sworn declaration from Second Deputy Commissioner William Flanagan stating, "I am familiar with the IAU investigation which is the subject of [Gawker's] request. An IAU investigation of a Nassau County police detective was undertaken in this matter. The investigation was an internal administrative investigation.... [T]here was no allegation of criminality on the part of the investigated detective."
The NCPD is arguing that the O'Reilly records are part of an internal affairs unit investigation file because New York law exempts internal affairs files from the Freedom of Information Law under certain circumstances. It is claiming that even correspondence with O'Reilly that may have predated the launch of the investigation is exempt because "any correspondence, which [Gawker] also seeks, involving the issues in the IAI would have necessarily become part of the resultant [internal affairs report]." You can read the filings, including Flanagan's declaration, here.
Neither the NCPD nor Fox News responded to my invitations to comment on what "issues," precisely, the investigation dealt with.
O'Reilly himself had only a brief comment when I asked him about his relationship with the NCPD in person, at a book signing at a Long Island Barnes & Noble not far from his Manhasset, N.Y., home Monday night. As you can see from the video above, he said only "This guy has to leave" to his security guards, who promptly ejected me from the event. When I asked the guards for the copy of Killing Lincoln that I purchased to gain access to the event, and which I had already handed to O'Reilly to be signed, O'Reilly said, "Don't give him the book." He wasn't wearing a wedding ring.
Gawker's Adrian Chen, however, who was in line with me at the event shooting the video, managed to get his own copy of the error-riddled tome signed. O'Reilly and his guards didn't realize that Adrian was with me, so he was able to get up to O'Reilly's table and ask what the commotion was all about. "I have no idea," O'Reilly told him.
Look out for an upcoming Gawker contest with a signed copy of Killing Lincoln as the prize.
I've asked Fox News for a replacement of my stolen copy. No response yet.
[Photo via Getty Images; video shot by Adrian Chen and edited by Matt Toder]