Report: Ex-Deadspin Journo at Center of FBI Search on Fox Leak

Per 'Tampa Bay Times,' agency searched home of Timothy Burke earlier this month in criminal probe
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2023 2:40 PM CDT
FBI Search in Florida May Hold Clue to Carlson/ Fox Leak
Tucker Carlson attends the LIV Golf Invitational in Bedminster, New Jersey, on July 31.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

In October, Kanye West sat down for a two-part interview with Fox News' Tucker Carlson, when the latter was still part of the network's prime-time lineup. Just days later, Vice's Motherboard published unseen clips from that interview, with even more eyebrow-raising snippets from the rapper, including antisemitic tropes and West's assertion that "fake children" had been planted in his home to manipulate his real kids. The leak sent Fox executives into a "full-on freakout" and on the hunt for the "mole," the Daily Beast reported at the time. Now, a potential clue from the Tampa Bay Times, which says it got its hands on a letter Thursday, sent by a federal prosecutor in Tampa Bay, Florida, to Fox News concerning an ongoing criminal investigation into alleged computer hacks at the network.

The letter from Assistant US Attorney Jay Trezevant asked Fox to retain records that might be relevant to the probe, which the Times reports included a May 8 search by the FBI at a home in Tampa Bay. Although the letter doesn't name names, two sources tell the Times that the search was carried out in the city's Seminole Heights neighborhood at the residence of journalist and media consultant Timothy Burke and his wife, Tampa City Council member Lynn Hurtak. Burke isn't commenting on the advice of his attorney, and he's gone dark on social media since the May 8 search. Hurtak has issued a statement that notes the search appeared to be related to her spouse's reporting.

The Daily Beast notes that Burke, 44, used to be one of its own, serving as the outlet's video director from July 2018 to April 2019. He has since run his own media and political consulting company, Burke Communications, whose site wasn't accessible as of Friday afternoon. Burke was most notable, however, for his work a decade ago as a Deadspin reporter who helped uncover a hoax about the supposed dead girlfriend of NFL player Manti Te'o. The Trezevant letter notes that Vice News and Media Matters, which also published some of the leaked Fox clips, aren't accused of wrongdoing; the letter says the probe centers on unlawful conduct by "other subjects." Burke hasn't been specifically named as having committed any breaches, and the warrant and other documents tied to the home search haven't been made public. (More Tucker Carlson stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.