Brian Ross has landed a new gig less than a year after parting ways with ABC News after misreporting a story involving President Trump and the ongoing federal investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election.
Dan Abrams, who formerly served as anchor of “Nightline” and remains chief legal affairs anchor for ABC News, is bringing Ross, along with his longtime lead producer Rhonda Schwartz (who was also suspended over the Trump report and subsequently let go), to lead a new investigative unit of the Law & Crime Network. The channel and OTT platform was founded in 2016 by Abrams and streams and shows — through an investment partnership with A+E — live trials and legal commentary. Recently, the channel expanded to Europe.
“I worked with Brian and Rhonda for years, and there are no more celebrated and dogged investigative journalists in the country,” Abrams said.
Ross spent nearly 25 years at ABC News as the face of its investigative output before, in December, making an on-air report that Trump had directed Michael Flynn, the short-lived national security adviser who also worked on Trump’s election campaign, to make contact with Russian officials before his election. It turned out that the directive came post-election, giving a much different spin to the story and put ABC in a bad spot with a president who looks for any opportunity to lambast the press. ABC subsequently suspended Ross and Schwartz, but neither officially left the network until July.
For his part, Flynn pleaded guilty in December to one felony count of “willfully and knowingly” lying to the FBI about his December 2016 conversations with Russian government officials, but cut a deal with federal prosecutors to cooperate with the ongoing investigation, being led by special counsel Robert Mueller 3rd.
It seems there were few, if any, hard feelings between ABC and Ross and Schwartz’s incorrect report, as both will be affiliated with one of ABC’s star anchors in the new Law & Crime project. Before the incorrect Flynn report, the pair gathered up 17 Emmy’s, seven duPont Awards, six Peabody Awards and six George Polk Awards for their journalism, which should lend some gravitas to Abrams still-new channel.
In a joint statement, Ross and Schwartz said they are “delighted” to be joining Abrams and begin “covering the biggest law and crime stories — issues that could not be more central now to what’s happening in our country.”
“ABC and NBC were great partners in the broadcast era,” they added. Now in the digital era, we are thrilled to become part of Law & Crime as the place to find news-making and important investigative reporting.”
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