FBI search of home of a journalist and a Tampa Bay councilwoman related to alleged leaks at Fox News: report

  • The FBI is investigating alleged leaks at Fox News linked to unaired footage of Tucker Carlson's interview with rapper Kanye West.

  • The feds executed a search warrant at the home of a Tampa Bay city councilwoman and her husband, a media consultant and ex-journalist, earlier this month.

  • Potential crimes being investigated include unauthorized computer access and conspiracy, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

The FBI is conducting a criminal investigation into alleged leaks at Fox News related to unaired footage from Tucker Carlson's interview with the rapper Kanye West that was published last year.

That's according to The Tampa Bay Times, which reported that as part of the investigation, the FBI executed a search warrant on the home of city councilwoman Lynn Hurtak and her husband, Tim Burke, earlier this month.

Burke, a media consultant and former journalist, told The Times that the warrant had his name on it. Federal agents seized personal and business devices belonging to Burke during the May 8 search, including a phone and several computers.

Vice News published the unaired footage from Carlson's controversial interview with West last October. The clips, which were edited out of Fox's final interview broadcast, featured West making antisemitic remarks and suggesting that "fake children" were planted in his home to manipulate his kids. Fox News fired Carlson last month, shortly after the company paid out a $787.5 million settlement to Dominion Voting Systems in its defamation lawsuit.

In addition to the Vice story, federal officials are also examining leaked material related to a video series titled "FOXLEAKS" published by the left-wing group Media Matters for America, The Times reported.

Fox News has asked that lawyers for Dominion investigate the "release of confidential discovery material," which Dominion denied came from the company or its attorneys.

A Tampa Bay prosecutor sent a letter to Fox News informing the network of the ongoing criminal investigation into the alleged hacks, The Times reported. The prosecutor, Jay Trezevant, asked Fox to preserve information connected to the investigation for at least three months and said in the letter that officials believe Fox is "one of the potential victim-witnesses" of the alleged crimes.

The letter did not mention Burke by name, but The Times said it confirmed with two people close to the inquiry that the matter is connected to the FBI's search of Burke and Hurtak's home.

Potential crimes that the feds are investigating include unauthorized computer access; conspiracy; interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications; and other federal violations.

Insider has reached out to Burke, who told The Times after speaking to his lawyer that he could not comment on its story. Hurtak said in a previous statement that the FBI's search related solely to her husband's work.

Current Justice Department policy prohibits investigators from issuing subpoenas or search warrants to journalists "acting within the scope of newsgathering activities."

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