Former anchor Rather sues CBS for $70M

Veteran newscaster Dan Rather filed a $70 million lawsuit Wednesday over the discredited story about President George W. Bush's National Guard service that cast a pall over this final months at CBS.

Veteran newscaster Dan Rather filed a $70-million USlawsuit Wednesday over the discredited story about U.S. President George W. Bush's National Guard servicethat cast a pall over his final months at CBS.

Rather, 75, is seeking $20 million US in compensation and $50 million USin punitive damages, saying the network made him a "scapegoat" in the incident.

The lawsuit, filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, also names CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves; parent company Viacom Inc.'s chairman, Sumner Redstone; and former CBS News president Andrew Heyward.

"These complaints are old news, and this lawsuit is without merit,"CBS spokesman Dana McClintock said.

Rather has been publicly critical of Moonves's leadership of CBS since his departure, saying news is being "dumbed down" at the network.

Rather was anchor of the CBS Evening News for 24 years, but he stepped down in 2005 after a 60 Minutes reportraised questions about Bush's military service record.

The story airedon Sept. 8, 2004, during the U.S. presidential election campaign and relied on documents allegedly written by one of Bush's National Guard commanders.

The story, which Rather presented on air, suggested that Bush had used his father's political connections to avoid fulfilling his service obligations and going to Vietnam.

CBS ousted three executives and a producer amid the scandal after an independent investigation raised serious questions about the authenticity of the original documents.

The investigation found that the news story had failed to be accurate or fair.

Rather left CBS in June 2006, about five months before his contract was set to expire, after complaining that he was being squeezed out of the network.

He had worked at CBS since 1962 and was one of its most respected newsmen until the scandal.

With files from the Associated Press