Gawker Goes to Court to Probe Relationship Between Fox News Head Roger Ailes, Republican Governor

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The blog wants to investigate if the chairman of the News Corp. cable news network functions as an informal advisor to Chris Christie of New Jersey.

NEW YORK - Gawker and its reporter John Cook filed a civil lawsuit on Monday to investigate the relationship between Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, a former political advisor, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

As first reported by the New York Times, the suit is looking to obtain records of communications between the two to see if Ailes advised Christie in any way.

“A strong public interest exists in knowing whether the executive in charge of the nation’s most-watched cable news channel is acting as a political consultant to a prospective Republican presidential candidate,” the suit states.

Cook's interest in obtaining records was triggered by a May 22, 2011 article in New York Magazine that reported that Ailes "called [Gov.] Christie and encouraged him to jump into the [2012 presidential] race."

Ailes has denied that suggestion, but acknowledged having dinner with him. Cook requested documents about the communications between the two to investigate the issue further.

In mid-June, Christie’s office said that any records, if they exist, would be exempt, citing “executive privilege and well-settled case law." No further explanation on why privilege applied in this situation was offered.

The lawsuit says New Jersey's executive privilege can't protect and insulate "correspondence not directly tied to the government's constitutional obligations" and that the government's blanket assertion of privilege "fails adequately to justify its invocation to deny Cook's request." 

Cook is being assisted by the American Civil Liberties Union in bringing this action.

Here's the complaint: