Ashley Bianco, the former CBS and ABC News producer fired over a leaked video of ABC anchor Amy Robach discussing Jeffrey Epstein, denied being the leaker and said she did not have a chance to defend herself.
"I begged, I pleaded, I didn't know what I had done wrong," Bianco told former NBC and Fox News host Megyn Kelly. "I wasn't even given the professional courtesy to defend myself. I didn't know what I'd been accused of. It was humiliating, it was devastating."
The former Good Morning America producer, who worked at ABC for three years before joining CBS days ago, repeatedly denied leaking the tape. Later on Friday Project Veritas, which published the Robach clip, put out a press release claiming to be written by the actual leaker, using the alias "Ignotus."
Project Veritas affixed an editor's note to the release that reads:
Project Veritas is publishing the writing below at the request of the ABC news insider who gave us the Amy Robach tape.
This was submitted to us in light of the actions taken against those wrongfully identified as involved in the leaking of the tape and the reactions of ABC news to their spiking of the story on Jeffrey Epstein.
"I came forward with this information bearing no motives other than to have this information public," Ignotus said. He went on to lambast ABC for spinning this into a "mission of seek-and-destroy."
"I challenge all of you to actually look inwards and remember why this company engages in journalism," he told ABC News. "We all hold the First Amendment at the foundation of this company, yet forget its history, its purpose, and its reasoning for even coming into existence to begin with."
He apologized only to Robach herself, whom he called an "outstanding reporter."
"You are the only person deserving of an apology," he told Robach. "I am most certainly sorry. Not for my actions or for this to center around you, but for what is clear to have happened."
In her interview with Kelly, Bianco said she made a clip of the monologue, which occurred in August, and saved it in the internal system at ABC.
"I essentially marked it in the system, it never left the system," Bianco said. "We do it all the time."
Bianco said an assistant told her Robach knew she was being recorded when she made the comments, although Robach was not on the air at the time. Bianco said the moment would have been seen by other affiliates, in addition to many of her coworkers who were also surprised by Robach's comments.
"Part of my job is I'm like a video editor," Bianco said. "I clip off moments all the time. I put together anchor reels of them off-camera doing funny stuff to use later in the show."
She also said she had not heard of Project Veritas until the video went viral.
Kelly asked Bianco what she wanted in the aftermath of her firing. "I just want my career back, I want people to know I didn't do it," Bianco said.
Journalist Yashar Ali reported that ABC identified Bianco as the producer who made the clip of Robach's comments. The network relayed the information to CBS, which took action against Bianco.
The video showed Robach saying that her interview with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who has alleged she was a victim of sex trafficking at the hands of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, was spiked by the network in order to keep its access to interviews with the British royal family. Giuffre has said Epstein ordered her, while she was underage, to have sex with Prince Andrew, Duke of York, among others.
In a statement, ABC News said the interview was not aired because "not all of our reporting met our standards to air." Robach issued a statement acknowledging ABC's stated reasons for spiking the story and saying her monologue was a "private moment of frustration."
Updated 7:46 p.m.: This post was updated after Project Veritas published its press release with Ignotus's byline.
Published under: ABC News , CBS News , Media , Megyn Kelly , Video