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Former FX Exec Webster Gets Probation

Jan 4, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Former FX public relations executive Randolph Steven “Steve” Webster was sentenced on Tuesday to three years of felony-level probation and was ordered to pay $22,000 in restitution to his former employer. Mr. Webster had pleaded no contest to felony wiretapping earlier this year after having illegally listened to company conference calls following his dismissal from the cable network (TelevisionWeek, Dec. 13, 2004).

Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Jeff McGrath had recommended a two-year prison sentence, but Judge Norman Shapiro opted for a lesser punishment in the case. The prosecution had also requested that Mr. Webster be required to undergo a 90-day psychiatric evaluation in the event that probation was granted, a request Judge Shapiro rejected as well. Both Mr. McGrath and FX parent company News Corp. declined comment regarding the ruling.

Mr. Webster’s defense team had sought misdemeanor-level probation, but Judge Shapiro said Mr. Webster would have to earn such status and would have the opportunity to appeal the ruling after 18 months.

Nonetheless, Mr. Webster’s defense attorney David Scheper said he was satisfied with the ruling.

“This was never an economic espionage case nor a case involving any obsession. It was a probation case. And we are pleased that Judge Shapiro agreed,” Mr. Scheper said, saying that Mr. Webster would not comment.