Gawker has obtained partial transcripts from the custody trial at the center of Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly’s vicious dispute with his ex-wife, Maureen McPhilmy. The documents, which record testimony given last year, confirm that the ex-couple’s teenage daughter told a court-appointed forensic examiner that she witnessed O’Reilly “choking her mom” as he “dragged her down some stairs” by the neck. The same transcripts also reveal that O’Reilly—who famously settled a lurid sexual harassment claim from one of his young female producers—told his daughter that her mother is an “adulterer”; that he struggles to control his rage around his family; and that his daughter regards him as an absentee father.
Gawker first reported the domestic violence allegations against O’Reilly on Monday, citing a source familiar with the case. In response, O’Reilly provided a vague statement to Politico: “All allegations against me in these circumstances are 100% false. I am going to respect the court-mandated confidentiality put in place to protect my children and will not comment any further.” The transcripts we’ve acquired will help O’Reilly’s fans and critics alike judge that statement for themselves.
In the summer of 2014, the Nassau County Supreme Court justice overseeing the O’Reilly-McPhilmy custody dispute assigned a Manhattan psychologist named Larry Cohen to interview and assess each member of the family: Bill O’Reilly, Maureen McPhilmy, and their son and daughter. Cohen produced evaluations of their individual interviews and later testified in court about what he observed. The transcripts below draw from the cross-examination of Cohen at the Nassau County Supreme Court by McPhilmy’s attorney, Casey Greenfield (who has had her own struggles with an errant father). Also present in the court room were O’Reilly’s attorney, Bernard Clair, and the independent attorney assigned to represent both children, Barbara Kopman.
At one point, Greenfield asked Cohen, who was under oath, whether his investigation had turned up any evidence of domestic violence in the O’Reilly-McPhilmy household. (Note: In this transcript, O’Reilly and McPhilmy’s daughter is identified as “M.”)
Q: In the course of your meetings with the children, did either of them describe any incidents of domestic violence between their parents?
Q: And who was that?
A: M. reported—having seeing an incident where I believe she said her dad was choking her mom or had his hands around her neck and dragged her down some stairs.
MR. CLAIR: Your Honor, to the extent that that incident as alleged may have predated the signing of the agreement.
THE COURT: Counsel. Counsel, she asked the question, we got the answer. Let’s move on.
From the transcript itself:
This exchange lends additional context to O’Reilly’s quasi-denial. Considering his evasive language—“in these circumstances”—he appears to be challenging either Cohen’s evaluation (if not necessarily accusing him of perjury) or accusing his daughter of lying about his behavior. In any case, it is impossible for O’Reilly to seriously claim that his daughter’s allegation of domestic violence did not arise in court.
According to a different part of the transcript, Cohen revealed that the daughter claimed that O’Reilly—identified as “Mr. Anonymous”—told her that her mother is an “adulterer.” O’Reilly’s daughter was 15 at the time of the testimony.
Q [Greenfield]: What sorts of things did M. tell you that Mr. Anonymous says about their mother?
A [Cohen]: That she is an adulterer, and that her husband is, M.’s new stepfather is not a good person, and oh, if she spends her time or more time at the mother’s home, it will ruin her life.
It is unclear whether McPhilmy, who has subsequently remarried, ever committed adultery. There is plenty of publicly available evidence—thanks to a 2004 sexual harassment lawsuit filed by former Fox News producer Andrea Mackris—that O’Reilly engaged in lewd, highly sexual behavior with at least one other woman while he was married to McPhilmy. O’Reilly reached an out-of-court settlement with Mackris, but not before she filed an incredible 22-page affidavit detailing the precise methods of O’Reilly’s harassment, including transcripts from phone conversations in which the anchor insisted Mackris masturbate with a vibrator, bragged about attending “a sex show in Thailand,” and promised to fondle her vagina using a “falafel thing.”
Another portion of the transcript shows that the daughter regarded O’Reilly—who has sanctimoniously and repeatedly criticized the “black community” for failing to parent children appropriately—as an absentee father.
Q [O’Reilly attorney]: And M. reported to you that her father was never around to have a relationship with her for 11 years, correct?
A [Cohen]: That’s what she said.
Q: And the word, when I emphasize the word “never,” that was her word, was it not?
A: Yes, it was.
When O’Reilly was around, he was apparently prone to bouts of rage so disruptive he occasionally had to go outside and punch a tree. Under questioning from McPhilmy’s attorney, Cohen relays his observations from interviews he conducted with O’Reilly about his anger problems.
Q [Greenfield]: And Mr. Anonymous himself admitted that he has trouble with impatience and he sometimes goes quite ballistic?
A [Cohen]: He did use the word “going ballistic,” but it was on limited occasions he did say that, but I think it was on limited occasions.
Q: Did you ask him what he meant by that, by “ballistic”?
A: I don’t recall. I think I did but I don’t recall.
Q: Yes, on page 53. 53, middle, pretty much half-way down?
A: Yes, I see it. Well, when I asked dad what he meant by going ballistic, he said that he would, quote, act like an idiot, close quote, which he can no longer do at his age or he can institute Plan B, which would be going out, hitting a tree or yelling and moaning. He said he worked hard to keep his emotions under control.
In the same cross-examination, Cohen testified that McPhilmy—“Mrs. Anonymous”—detailed the impact of O’Reilly’s rage on her, and that their daughter found his temper to be “scary”:
Q: And Mrs. Anonymous told you about Mr. Anonymous’ tantruming (sic)?
A: She used that word.
Q: And M. described him as flipping out and being quote, scary and demeaning?
A: She used those words.
Q: And that sometimes that makes her cry?
A: She said that.
Taken together, these revelations indicate that O’Reilly has brought nearly every feature of his tremendously profitable public persona—his absurd moralizing, his obscene religiosity, his habitual cruelty toward women—to bear on his own family, with predictable consequences.
Neither O’Reilly nor McPhilmy have responded to requests for comment. A voicemail left at Dr. Cohen’s office was not returned.