On Tuesday, the conservative advocacy group Project Veritas published a video in which ABC News anchor Amy Robach criticizes her network for not airing an interview she conducted in 2015 with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who has accused Jeffrey Epstein of sexual exploitation.
"I’ve had this story for three years," Robach says in the leaked video. "I tried for three years to get it on to no avail, and now it’s all coming out and it’s like these new revelations. And I freaking had all of it. I'm so pissed right now."
Attorney Stan Pottinger represents Giuffre and was involved with ABC's sit-down interview with her four years ago. In the perceived tiff between ABC and Robach, Pottinger is taking her side, he tells The Hollywood Reporter.
"I thought she was spot on," Pottinger says Tuesday of Robach's recorded comments. "I think that she had the story. She and Jim Hill, the field producer, did a fabulous job. I don't want them tarred by anything that ABC failed to do. They did a great job. ... Our client, Virginia, had a lot of confidence in them, and still does. She likes them, she trusts them, and she has respect for them."
In a statement, ABC explained its decision to not broadcast the interview this way: "At the time, not all of our reporting met our standards to air, but we have never stopped investigating the story."
Says Pottinger, "We had been told by industry insiders that ABC had a reputation for getting cold feet on matters like this, but we didn't worry about it, because Amy and Jim Hill were so good. They did great B-roll, they did a great interview. ... So, we were delighted with what went into the can. We just are sorry that it never came out."
Of the leaked video, the attorney says, "I don't think it does a great favor to ABC's editorial policy, and their business policy."
Giuffre traveled from Colorado to New York City in the summer of 2015 for the interview. "We didn't have an exact air date, but a few weeks after it was finished, we got word that they were having second thoughts about it," Pottinger recalls. "Not Amy and not their producers, but their superiors."
Robach, in her own statement on Tuesday, said the interview was not broadcast "because we could not obtain sufficient corroborating evidence to meet ABC’s editorial standards about her allegations," and that it "didn't meet our standards."
That comment clashes somewhat with what she says on tape. "We had everything," Robach is recorded as saying. "What we had was unreal."
Giuffre's team was confused by the network's reluctance to broadcast the tape. "I don't remember any reason not to run this that makes sense to us, either as a manner of editorial policy or as a manner of law," Pottinger says.
ABC says it has "a team on this investigation" and has devoted "substantial resources" to covering the story, which it will turn into a two-hour documentary and a six-part podcast that is set to air next year.
Pottinger says that Hill has continued reporting on Epstein's victims and has recently interviewed some of his clients.
The attorney is not sure whether Robach's interview could be surfaced at some point in the future. "I have never been told that it would never run," Pottinger says. "As far as I know, it's still in the can. As far as I know, they could still run it. So, I cannot explain why they have not."