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The young woman CBS fired after her former employer, ABC, put out word that she might be untrustworthy, says she did not leak the viral video that suggests ABC killed a story about deceased sex fiend Jeffrey Epstein.
In a short interview with former Fox News talker Megyn Kelly, Ashley Bianco, a former producer for CBS This Morning, tearfully described her role in “marking” the hot-mic video of anchor Amy Robach’s complaint that the network spiked her exposé about Epstein.
Bianco, a producer for ABC’s Good Morning America when the video was made, firmly said she didn’t leak the damning video to Project Veritas, which posted it on Tuesday. Project Veritas says Bianco is not the leaker and published a long, anonymous note from the person who did.
In other words, thanks to ABC, CBS heartlessly fired an innocent woman.
The video that doomed Bianco, which was made in August, features Robach’s disclosure that she had the story about Epstein nailed down three years ago, but ABC killed it.
Robach had interviewed Epstein’s former sex slave, Virginia Giuffre, who told her story at length. Epstein, of course, was under federal indictment for sex trafficking when found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City on August 10.
New York City’s coroner ruled the death a suicide, which Epstein’s family and others, including celebrity pathologist Michael Baden, says was a rush to judgment. They, and Robach, believe Epstein was murdered. Epstein, Giuffre said, had compromising information on the many rich, powerful men who flew on his Lolita Express, or visited his sex island. That, and the broken bones in Eptsein’s neck, suggest a murder, Baden said.
Robach explained that her story was rock solid. Noting that she had persuaded Giuffre to speak about Epstein’s long train of sex crimes, Robach said “we had everything,” including “Clinton.” Former President Bill Clinton flew on Epstein’s Lolita Express 26 times.
“I tried for three years to get it on to no avail,” Robach said. “I had it all three years ago.”
After the hot-mic video went viral, ABC said the story did not meet its “standards.”
And then the network went scalp-hunting.
They quickly found that Bianco, then a producer at GMA, had “marked” the clip. ABC fingered Bianco for CBS, which quickly sent her packing. She worked there just four days.
“I did not” leak the video, the distraught 25-year-old told Kelly. “No. Never.”
Said Bianco, “I just clipped it off, I essentially marked it in the system. It never left the system. We do it all the time.”
Bianco said she clipped the Robach rant for “office gossip,” and that clipping such moments is routine.
After clipping the video, Bianco said, “I didn’t touch it. I didn’t do anything else with that…. I never went back to it…. It stayed in the system. I hadn’t even heard of Project Veritas until this.”
But CBS kicked her to the gutter.
“I begged. I pleaded. I didn’t know what I had done wrong,” she said through tears. “I wasn’t even given the professional courtesy to defend myself. I didn’t know what I had been accused of. It was, you know, humiliating. It was devastating.”
After telling Kelly again that “it wasn’t me” and “I’m not the whistleblower,” Bianco stated the obvious problem for ABC: “The leaker is still inside.”
O’Keefe never disclosed the leaker, but Project Veritas gave ABC and CBS black eyes when it announced Friday afternoon that Bianco didn’t leak the tape. Writing under the nom de plume Ignotus, the leaker explained his motive in a letter published at the Project Veritas website.
“I, like many, are at a loss for words on how this has been handled,” Ignotus wrote in apologizing to Bianco and those wrongfully accused.
Instead of addressing this head-on like the company has in the past, it has spun into a mission of seek-and-destroy. Innocent people that have absolutely nothing to do with this are being hunted down…. I went to Project Veritas for the sole reason that any other media outlet else would have probably shelved this as well. I thank all of them, and James [O’Keefe] , for seeking truth.
ABC fingered the wrong person, and CBS fired Bianco for no reason.
Photo: energyy/iStock/Getty Images Plus
R. Cort Kirkwood is a longtime contributor to The New American and a former newspaper editor.