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NY probe of NBC News began with Matt Lauer’s firing in 2017, source says

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State officials are investigating allegations of sexual misconduct and related cover-ups at NBC News — and have interviewed potential witnesses including Megyn Kelly, The Post has learned.

The probe began around the time that “Today” show co-host Matt Lauer was fired in 2017 and is being conducted by the Civil Rights Bureau of the state Attorney General’s Office, which prosecutes cases of sex and gender discrimination, a source said Tuesday.

Former NBC staffer Brooke Nevils, who claims that Lauer sexually assaulted her in 2014, is also among those who’ve been interviewed, as is Addie Zinone, who’s said she had an affair with Lauer when she was a “Today” show production assistant in 2000, sources said.

Kelly — who lost her “Today” show hosting job in 2018 for defending “blackface” Halloween costumes — sat down with investigators in January, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Both Kelly and former NBC News anchor Linda Vester, who was also interviewed in January, are being represented by employment lawyer Doug Wigdor, the source said.

“The testimony and investigation seem to be centered on harassment and retaliation for raising other issues of harassment in the workplace, for wanting to report on issues like Matt Lauer and Harvey Weinstein,” the source said.

Former NBC News Chairman Andy Lack
Former NBC News Chairman Andy LackBrendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The probe is being handled by a group of officials called the “Weinstein unit,” according to the Daily Mail.

The name apparently stems from journalist Ronan Farrow’s claim that NBC executives stymied his efforts to expose sexual misconduct allegations against the since-disgraced movie mogul.

Farrow’s reporting was later published by the New Yorker and helped prompt criminal charges for which Weinstein is serving a 23-year prison sentence.

Vester, who in 2018 alleged that legendary network newsman Tom Brokaw repeatedly tried to kiss her during the 1990s, confirmed to The Post that she was interviewed for several hours on Jan. 7.

“In my case, they wanted to know who in management was involved in any effort to kill my story, to keep it from getting published in the Washington Post and Variety magazine,” she said.

Vester said investigators also asked “whether I had any information that this led all the way up to Andy Lack,” the NBC News chairman who was unexpectedly ousted on Monday.

Lack announced Lauer’s firing at the time and last year denied any prior knowledge of the alleged misconduct when Nevils went public in Farrow’s book “Catch and Kill.”

The book detailed Nevils’ claim that Lauer performed a sex act on her without consent in his hotel room during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

In a memo to NBC News staffers, Lack said network brass didn’t learn of Nevils’ allegations until she went to the company’s human resources department two days before Lauer was fired.

Hoda Kotb talks with Savannah Guthrie on the set of the "Today Show" in 2017.
Hoda Kotb talks with Savannah Guthrie on the set of the “Today” show in 2017.Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“Any suggestion that we knew prior to that evening or tried to cover up any aspect of Lauer’s conduct is absolutely false and offensive,” he added.

Lack was accused in Farrow’s book of being “almost unrelenting” in his pursuit of an affair with Jane Wallace, then an anchor on CBS’ “West 57th” news show, when he was an executive producer in the late 1980s — and of bullying her out of her job when they broke up.

Lack also had a “relationship” with a young associate producer, Jennifer Laird, and turned “hostile” toward her when things ended, according to the book.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General Letitia James declined to comment but did not deny the existence of the investigation.

An NBC spokesman said the network was unaware of the AG’s probe and said Lack declined to comment.

Additional reporting by Carl Campanile and Bernadette Hogan

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