The woman accused of being a whistleblower who allegedly leaked a video of ABC News reporter Amy Robach's hot-mic admission that the Disney-owned network killed a bombshell report about Jeffrey Epstein spoke publicly Friday for the first time.
The previously unidentified woman, 25-year-old Emmy-award winning producer Ashley Bianco, sat down with former Fox News and NBC News anchor Megyn Kelly Friday morning and revealed she had worked for CBS for only four days when the network fired her. She claimed CBS offered no explanation for the termination or the opportunity to defend herself. Spokespersons for ABC and CBS did not respond to FOX Business' requests for comment on Friday.
“I begged, I pleaded. I didn’t even know what I had done wrong,” she said in the tearful interview available on Kelly's YouTube channel. “I didn’t know what I had been accused of. It was humiliating. It was devastating.”
The interview -- which is also available on Instagram’s IGTV -- was promoted by Kelly on social media Thursday and Friday.
Bianco told Kelly she had worked for ABC for roughly three years when, in August, Robach was captured on a "hot-mic" -- a live or open microphone that is recording -- complaining about how the network spiked an interview with Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre from three years ago. The footage was first aired by Project Veritas.
“I’ve had the story for three years … we would not put it on the air,” Robach said. “It was unbelievable what we had, Clinton, we had everything.”
She continued: “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, I’m so pissed right now.”
Robach later claimed in a lengthy statement she was “caught in a private moment of frustration,” according to Fox News. She said the interview didn’t air because they had not obtained enough corroboration evidence.
An ABC spokesperson told Fox News Thursday the reporting at the time did not meet the network's “standards to air.”
After identifying the person who they believed had leaked the clip, ABC News execs reportedly alerted officials at CBS – where Bianco had gone to work after her stint at the Disney network. CBS fired her this week, Kelly said.
But Bianco insists she is not the person who leaked the video, which she explained was taken while Robach was off the air, but was doing taped promotions. She was wearing a mic and people could see and hear her at the time.
"Everyone was watching it"
"I was watching the comments while I was at my desk and I had seen what she was saying. I went to my manager and I said, ‘Do you see what she’s saying? Does she know that she’s on a hot mic?’" Bianco recalled in the interview. "The assistant said to us that Amy knew she was on a mic and that she knew she was being broadcasted to all the affiliates.”
Bianco said she "never" leaked the tape, but she did clip the segment, which she admitted she did "just for office gossip."
“Everyone in the office was freaked out by what she was saying. Everyone was watching it," she explained.
Clipping videos was part of the job, and is something that happened often in her role as a producer, she said.
But she never went back to watch the footage after first seeing it, she said.
"I didn't touch it after that. It stayed in the system."
Bianco left ABC in the fall and stressed that she only left before CBS had offered "a good contract." FOX Business could not immediately reach Bianco for comment.
“It wasn’t me. I’m not the whistleblower. I’m sorry to ABC, but the leaker’s still inside."
The 7-minute interview ended with Bianco's emotional plea: “I just want my career back. I just want people to know I didn’t do it.”
On Friday, Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe tweeted that ABC had accused the wrong person -- and the "ABC News Insider is still working for ABC News." He also shared part of a statement made by the insider after Kelly's interview aired.
If Bianco was, in fact, not the person to leak the footage, attorney Misty Marris told FOX Business the ousted staffer likely has a case against both networks.
"In a nutshell she has viable claims against BOTH networks," Marris said Friday.
If her contract with CBS requires that she be fired "for cause," Bianco's firing was likely a breach of contract with CBS.
CBS must "independently vet the information provided by ABC which according to Bianco they did not. The language of the contract dictates the damages."
If ABC told CBS she was the leaker -- and she is proven not to be -- Marris believes Bianco could also pursue a defamation case against ABC.
"If they said she is the leaker and she isn't, they are in trouble," she said, adding in an email: "If ABC thought that she leaked the video, but failed to acted (sic) reasonably to confirm it, investigate etc. and still made the statement to CBS, they have a problem. They will face liability."
Lastly, Bianco could claim ABC committed tortious interference if she can prove ABC "intentionally induced CBS to break the contract without justification."
"So if ABC told CBS to fire Biancho because she is a leaker, and that is why CBS fired her, she has a great case because IT IS NOT TRUE," Marris wrote in the email. "The damages would be what is owed under the contract."