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News Corp. ex-counsel denies being alerted to probe of Fox reporter

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The former general counsel of News Corp., parent company of Fox News, said his office never got any notification from the U.S. Justice Department in 2010 that it had subpoenaed communications records of Fox News reporter James Rosen.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Lawrence "Lon" Jacobs -- who was News Corp. general counsel at the time -- said "we never got it" when asked about a report in the New York Times that the Justice Department had alerted News Corp. via fax of its probe into Rosen. The department was investigating Rosen for his reporting on North Korea and had accused him in an affidavit of violating the espionage act. 

Jacobs said of the fax that "there is no record that it was ever received" and went on to say that if he had learned of a Justice Department investigation of a Fox News reporter, "the first thing I would have done is call [Fox News Chairman] Roger Ailes." Jacobs left News Corp. in 2011.

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News Corp., which intially said it had gotten an official notice from DOJ, on Sunday issued a statement saying it in fact had not received anything. "While we don't take issue with the DOJ's account that they sent a notice to News Corp., we do not have a record of ever having received it. We are looking into this matter," the company said.

A Fox News executive said the cable network never received notice from the DOJ of an investigation into Rosen.

Last week, Ailes blasted the Obama administration for the probe into Rosen.

"We reject the government's efforts to criminalize the pursuit of investigative journalism and falsely characterize a Fox News reporter to a Federal judge as a 'co-conspirator' in a crime," Ailes wrote. "The administration's attempt to intimidate Fox News and its employees will not succeed and their excuses will stand neither the test of law, the test of decency, nor the test of time. We will not allow a climate of press intimidation, unseen since the McCarthy era, to frighten any of us away from the truth."

ALSO:

FBI spied on Fox News reporter James Rosen

Scale of government's AP records seizure surprises many

Fox News CEO Roger Ailes blasts administration for probe into Rosen

Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.

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