"Fox News Mole" Accepts Plea Deal Over Gawker Series

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 9 2013 2:28 PM

"Fox News Mole" Accepts Plea Deal Over Gawker Series

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TV personality Bill O'Reilly.

Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

It looks like Joe Muto, the so-called Fox News Mole, will plead guilty to misdemeanor charges of attempted theft and attempted computer tampering.

Gawker, who made a splash with a fast-burning series of reports from then Fox News producer Muto last year, noted that the charges have to do with the acquisition of unaired footage from the network. That footage included pre-interview banter between Sean Hannity and Mitt Romney. As part of Muto's plea deal, he'll avoid being charged with a felony. They explain:

The Manhattan DA has been investigating Muto since April of last year, when it raided his apartment and confiscated his laptop, cell phone, and iPad. The agreement calls for Muto to pay a $1,000 fine, to forfeit the $5,000 "fruits of his wrongdoing"—Muto was (reportedly!) paid $5,000 by Gawker for his posts—and to serve more than 200 hours in community service at a nonprofit.
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Muto was fired from Fox, where he worked as an associate producer for The O’Reilly Factor, shortly after the Gawker series began. But, despite losing his job (and, you know, being charged with two misdemeanors), Muto's gamble probably paid off: Muto's book on his Fox tenure, which Gawker says is the result of a six-figure deal, comes out in June.

Elsewhere in Slate: Muto used his powers for good last year, explaining what Aaron Sorkin got right (and wrong) in The Newsroom.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.