Story-Murdering Editor Tale Haunts In Touch

Ryan Tate · 02/06/08 11:48PM

Perhaps Complex magazine missed the juicier side of the FBI's dirty editor investigation: the tabloid editor in question may have been taking bribes to kill stories, not just promote them, according to one former coworker. An English editor based out of In Touch's New Jersey headquarters was, starting four years ago, widely rumored among In Touch staff to have accepted bribes on a regular basis, particularly from a fellow Brit working as a high-profile publicist to a collection of ditzy celebrities. Staff were particularly "horrified" when the editor accepted a rumored $10,000 payment to kill a story involving Jennifer Lopez after her breakup with Ben Affleck, the former colleague said. Though this editor was based on the East Coast, his story helps show why the FBI would be interested in the former In Touch West Coast-based editor on whom speculation has centered.

Will The FBI Get In Touch?

Nick Denton · 02/06/08 03:26PM

Famously, Al Capone was brought down, not by charges of racketeering or murder, but by a mundane prosecution for tax evasion. Could it be that's what finally crimps corruption at the celebrity weeklies? According to Complex magazine, federal investigators have tapped phones at In Touch, the also-ran gossip magazine put out by Bauer Publishing. The focus of the FBI probe: payments to at least one editor in exchange for prominent placement of certain B-list celebrities. (For more desirable stories, and baby pictures, the money flows the other way, from magazine to source.) Accepting bribes, while a sackable offense, is not illegal. However, if an editor failed to declare the income, he could be hauled up for tax evasion. News of the investigation has leaked because agents have called in former staffers for interviews over the last few days. In Touch: want to respond? Email and we'll publish. (After the jump, Robert De Niro as Al Capone, slamming the Untouchables for "doctoring up" some income tax violation.)