Published January 20, 2005
LOS ANGELES – The three CBS News executives asked to resign for their roles in the network's discredited story about President Bush's National Guard (search) service had not done so by Wednesday, more than a week later.
It was unclear whether their lack of action foreshadows a legal battle between CBS and Josh Howard (search), executive producer of "60 Minutes Wednesday"; his top deputy, Mary Murphy (search); and CBS senior vice president Betsy West (search).
"There are discussions going on with them," CBS chairman Leslie Moonves (search) said.
Moonves would not elaborate further, and network spokesman Gil Schwartz declined to say whether CBS had been contacted by lawyers representing the three executives.
The producer of last September's story, Mary Mapes, was fired outright Jan. 10 after an independent panel found CBS rushed the story critical of Bush's military service on the air without ever proving that documents upon which it was based were real.
Howard and Murphy were asked to resign for failing to fulfill their supervisory roles and letting the story air. The panel said Murphy did not follow an order from CBS News President Andrew Heyward to quickly investigate when questions were raised about the documents.
West did not immediately return a telephone call Wednesday, and Howard declined comment. Attempts to find a telephone number for Murphy were unsuccessful.