Updated from 5:02 p.m. EDT
Rather, who was phased out at CBS in the wake of his role in a controversial 60 Minutes report about the Texas National Guard service record of President Bush, filed a $70 million lawsuit on Wednesday against the company.
The lawsuit, first reported by The New York Times, alleges that CBS violated Rather's contract by giving him insufficient airtime on 60 Minutes after he was ousted from the anchor seat at the CBS Evening News in March of 2005. It also claims that the company commissioned a biased investigation into the Texas National Guard controversy, resulting in a flawed report that "seriously damaged his reputation."The suit, filed at the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, names CBS as a plaintiff, along with its former parent, Viacom (VIAB - Get Report). The suit also targets Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone, CBS CEO Les Moonves and the former president of CBS News, Andrew Heyward. The lawsuit alleges that the company and its executives made Rather "a scapegoat" in an effort to "pacify the White House" after the infamous report was at least partially debunked by right-wing bloggers. The suit notes that Richard Thornburgh, an attorney general in the administration of the elder President Bush, was appointed by CBS as one of the two outside panelists given the job of reviewing the investigation. "These complaints are old news and the lawsuit is without merit," said CBS spokesman Dana McClintock.