Regan lawyer plans lawsuit vs. HarperCollins

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NEW YORK - The lawyer for Judith Regan, whose plan to publish a book by O.J. Simpson called "If I Did It" ignited a firestorm of criticism, plans to sue HarperCollins for dismissing the publisher in breach of her contract, The New York Times reported on its Web site Tuesday.

Regan was fired for making alleged anti-Semitic remarks in an argument with a colleague, a publishing source said told Reuters on Monday.

The source confirmed to Reuters that a report in The New York Times that said Regan's sudden departure on Friday came after she made the comments in an argument with a Jewish lawyer for HarperCollins, a division of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. empire and the publisher of the Regan Books imprint.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that a lawyer for Regan, Bert Fields, said of the claimed comments: "They were looking for an excuse to fire her, and they fired her, and called it anti-Semitic. It ain't anti-Semitic."

Fields said he planned to file a lawsuit against HarperCollins for dismissing Regan in breach of her contract, The Times reported. It added that HarperCollins declined to comment.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that Fields said HarperCollins had libeled Regan by suggesting that she had made anti-Semitic remarks on Friday during a conversation with HarperCollins attorney Mark Jackson.

The Journal quoted Andrew Butcher, the News Corp. spokesman, as denying that the company had libeled Regan.

News Corp. was not immediately available for comment. Fields could not be reached.
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