Dan Rather files amended lawsuit

Tries again in legal battle with CBS

NEW YORK -- Dan Rather fired another round against his former network Tuesday, charging in an amended lawsuit that CBS News labeled the anchor "too hot to handle" and prevented him from being hired by other networks following his acrimonious departure.

Rather was rebuffed in an earlier attempt when many of his claims were knocked down by a New York state judge. But the judge also allowed Rather to resubmit his claims.

In the latest filing, Rather claimed that CNN, ABC, NBC and other networks met to talk about possible employment but that all eventually declined for reasons that included, in the lawsuit's words, that Rather had "too much baggage." It said he lost other business opportunities as well. He later signed with HDNet.

"Mr. Rather's exposure is dramatically limited and, accordingly, his reputation and standing in his trade and profession have not recovered from the damage caused by the defendants' conduct," the lawsuit said.

In a statement, CBS said: "Mr. Rather is trying to put forth fraud complaints that the court has already determined to be legally unfounded. We believe he will fail a second time. We will file an appropriate motion to dismiss."

CBS was served with the amended complaint Tuesday; it was to be filed in a New York court Wednesday.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on Monday before the filing, Rather said the reason he is going through all the legal proceedings is to find out what happened in the wake of the 2004 "60 Minutes II" report on President Bush's military service during the Vietnam War.

"The story was true. What we said in the report was true, despite what others have tried to have you believe about the documents, which were one and only one part of the story," Rather said.

Rather claims in the lawsuit that CBS forced him to keep silent when he wanted to defend the report and himself after bloggers and others questioned the documents. An independent report didn't rule on whether the documents were faked.

CBS News has hit back hard against its former anchor, something that hasn't been lost on Rather.

"I've never lost sight of the fact that this is a long, hard, expensive road and the odds are against," he said. "I knew that going in. I've known that every hour I've been in it. I'm in this alone. I bear the whole, total expense, which comes out of my pocket."

CBS' defense is funded by CBS Corp., Rather noted. "What they sought to do is get it all dismissed," he said. "Now what they want to do is string it out for as long as they can, hoping to wear me out and run me out of money."