Billy Bush Taps Litigator Amid Tense Settlement Talks with NBC

Cynthia Littleton
Variety

Billy Bush has tapped Los Angeles litigator Marshall Grossman to represent him in what sources describe as increasingly tense contract settlement talks with NBC News.

Bush is believed to be on his way out at NBC News after the fallout from Friday’s revelation of his 2005 hot-mic conversation with Donald Trump, now the Republican nominee for president. The pair spoke in vulgar terms about women, including Bush’s then co-host on “Access Hollywood,” Nancy O’Dell. Bush laughed along with Trump as he bragged about forcing himself on women.

Grossman, a partner in the Orrick law firm, confirmed he joined Bush’s team a few days ago.

“I’m going to do my best to give (Bush) a meaningful seat at the table so that that his contract rights are respected,” Grossman told Variety.

The outrage spurred by the recording has kept Bush off the air this week from his regular 9 a.m. co-anchor slot on NBC’s “Today.” One complicating factor in the negotiations is the question of when NBC News brass were made aware of the recording.

Sources close to Bush maintain he brought it up to NBC News colleagues shortly after he joined the “Today” team this summer during its coverage of the Rio summer Olympics. NBC News has said that chairman Andrew Lack and other top execs only became of aware of the recording early last week. NBC and “Access Hollywood” were preparing stories on the explosive tape when it was leaked to the Washington Post, which beat NBC to publishing the story last Friday evening.

The ramifications of the outtakes going public have been swift and significant. Trump’s standing in the presidential race has taken a huge hit as more unsavory comments have surfaced and at least two women have come forward with allegations they were groped by him.

Bush’s fortunes as a rising star at NBC News turned around inside of 72 hours. The settlement talks are likely to conclude with his departure from NBCUniversal entirely, although sources close to the situation cautioned that the talks are fluid and options for him moving to another part of the company have been considered.

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