Farrah Fawcett has talked to the U.S. Attorney and the FBI about an ongoing investigation into whether American Media Inc., parent company of the National Enquirer, is guilty of a criminal offense by reportedly paying a hospital worker to leak confidential medical information, her friend Craig Nevius tells EW. “She remains in contact with both [the U.S. Attorney and the FBI] either directly or through someone who she trusts to do so,” Nevius said.
Nevius spoke to EW on Monday, after details of Fawcett’s battle with American Media and the National Enquirer were reported in an L.A. Times article. The Times story reports that Luwanda Jackson, an administrative specialist working at the UCLA Medical Center, pleaded guilty in December to a felony charge of violating federal medical privacy laws for commercial purposes by leaking Fawcett’s confidential medical information. She died in March of cancer before she could be sentenced. Prosecutors alleged that beginning in 2006, the Enquirer gave Jackson checks totaling at least $4,600 in her husband’s name, according to the Times. The entire plot was revealed after Fawcett herself launched a sting operation to get to the bottom of the constant leaks to the tabloids.
A rep for the FBI confirms that there is an “ongoing investigation into the compromising of medical records” related to UCLA and Jackson, but said the bureau does not comment on persons involved in its investigations.
Nevius tells EW that Fawcett was preparing to sue the National Enquirer for invasion of privacy (for printing true facts about her cancer) and defamation (for printing lies about her cancer). A December 2006 Enquirer article headlined, “Farrah Begs: ‘Let Me Die,’ ” was particularly unsettling for the actress. “God, I would never say something like that,” Fawcett, 62, told the L.A. Times. “To think that people who did look up to me and felt positive because I was going through it too and yet I was strong…it just negated all that.”
Nevius says American Media offered Fawcett a large monetary payment and promises to retract any information they had printed about her fight against cancer to avoid a lawsuit. He says Fawcett rejected the initial offer and asked for a larger sum to be donated to her Fight the Fight foundation along with a promise not to write about her in the future. Cameron Stracher, senior media counsel for American Media Inc., denies any such deal. “The National Enquirer never made a monetary offer to Ms. Fawcett,” Stracher told EW. He also referred to the following statement submitted to the L.A. Times: “The National Enquirer respects Ms. Fawcett and her brave battle with cancer, and acknowledges, as she has, that her public discussion of her illness has provided a valuable and important forum for awareness about the disease.”
Nevius says although American Media publications are still writing about Fawcett, he is confident that this is not the end of the story. “I have not given up the hope that Farrah will continue to pursue it,” he says. “Farrah is a fighter.”
Additional reporting by Kate Ward.
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