Charlie Rose Alleged to Be Dodging Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

An attorney for three women suing the 76-year-old has doubts on whether a surgery is preventing him from responding in court.
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Charlie Rose

According to court papers filed Friday, Charlie Rose had a meal on July 27 near his mid-town Manhattan office. The outing is notable for a few reasons.

More than three months ago, Katherine Brooks Harris, Sydney McNeal and Chelsea Wei sued Rose along with CBS News in New York court, alleging sexual harassment.

Rose has yet to respond to the complaint. His attorney says there's a good reason. In a bid for an extension, his attorney, Therese Doherty, revealed that the 76-year-old newsman had major abdominal surgery on July 17 and, with a recovery period expected to last six weeks, he has been unable to devote himself to preparing a defense.

Does the fact that he's dining out suggest his medical situation isn't serious enough to prevent him from responding in court to the women?

"He needs to eat," Doherty emailed the plaintiffs' lawyer. "Being out of his home for an hour to eat does not erase the limitations on his ability to work with counsel and participate in the preparation of his defense at the required level to be effective."

Kenneth Goldberg, attorney for the plaintiff, has doubts.

He tells the judge that July 27 was an important day. Not only because Rose requested an extension just as he was spotted out and about, but also because that was the day that The New Yorker published Ronan Farrow's article, "Les Moonves and CBS Face Allegations of Sexual Misconduct."

Rose's attorney says the article is "irrelevant" to the request for an extension, while Goldberg says that makes no sense since Farrow's story repeatedly referred to Rose.

"The circumstances suggest that Mr. Rose seeks to avoid these proceedings, delay these proceedings and/or delay filing any response to the Complaint until after CBS responds to the Complaint, so that Mr. Rose can tailor his response based on CBS’s position," writes Goldberg. "Such tactics do not warrant an open-ended, 30-day second extension of time."

Rose's excursion is interesting for another reason. The court papers state the belief that Rose was dining with Yvette Vega, the longtime executive producer of his television show. But Vega's camp says that she wasn't there.

In the Washington Post story that broke news of the Rose accusations, his former assistant, Kyle Godfrey-Ryan, recalled how Rose used to call her up at night, or early in the morning, to describe fantasies of her swimming naked in a pool as he watched from his bedroom. Godfrey-Ryan says she told Vega about the calls. According to Godfrey-Ryan, Vega shrugged and said, "That's just Charlie being Charlie."

When contacted by The Washington Post, Vega said, "I should have stood up for them ... I failed. It is crushing. I deeply regret not helping them."

Obviously, it would be notable and mysterious if Vega was meeting with Rose late last month on the same day The New Yorker published its bombshell story. But Vega insists the information is wrong. Her representative shared an itinerary for the producer showing a trip outside of the country when the meeting supposedly happened.

This story has been updated to reflect information provided by Vega.