Bill-Cosby and Beverly-Johnson

*Things are getting hot between CNN and Bill Cosby’s lawyer Martin Singer.

In response to being blasted over unethical reporting tactics, the network has fired back at Singer via a letter written by its lawyer David Vigilante. The CNN letter comes days after Singer wrote what TMZ labeled as a “a scathing letter to CNN Prez Jeff Zucker.”

According to the note, which was obtained by TMZ, Singer believes that Zucker’s reporters are targeting his client in a CNN special the network is doing with model/actress Beverly Johnson, who claims she was drugged by Cosby at his home in New York City in the mid ’80s

Singer was mentioned in the letter that told the reporters to contact  former live-in boyfriend Mark Burk. Singer goes on to accuse CNN of trying to “pressure and manipulate Burk to corroborate Johnson’s claims. He says when Burk stuck to his guns, the reporters abruptly terminated the conversation. . . .”

“We continue to be shocked by CNN’s outrageous ongoing refusal to investigate and run balanced stories about my client,” Singer’s letter read.

“While airing untested stories from accusers who have seemingly been subject to little or no vetting, CNN takes the opposite approach with anyone who comes forward with relevant information undermining accusers’ claims or with relevant information supporting Mr. Cosby. Sources with information supportive of my client are entirely ignored or, worse still, are met with hostility when they fail to go along with the narrative being perpetrated by CNN. . . .”

The following is Vigilante’s response to Singer’s letter that came Monday via CNN:

“Your letter is remarkable in its dishonesty.

“I have reviewed the transcripts of the Burk and Gibble interviews and they show that your characterization of CNN’s conduct and the discussions themselves are demonstrably false.” Gibble is not fully identified but the letter says he claims to have been Johnson’s manager.

“With respect to Mr. Burk, what becomes clear both from the interview and from our research is that 1) he had no specific knowledge of Ms. Johnson’s claims and did not know Ms. Johnson during the time period when she claims she was assaulted and 2) he is far from a disinterested observer.

“Mr. Burk essentially says he has no recollection of Ms. Johnson ever mentioning any incidents to him during the time he knew her. He offers generalized statements that Ms. Johnson spoke in support of many different prominent African Americans in their business pursuits, including sometimes Mr. Cosby.

“What you neglected to inform CNN about Mr. Burk is that he has a history of threatening and abusive behavior toward Ms. Johnson.

“Indeed, he is the subject of multiple restraining orders relating to her. This includes choking Ms. Johnson and even threatening to kill her, for which he pled guilty, was convicted and a criminal protective order was issued.

“Burk suggested to CNN that this conviction was subsequently vacated, but a review of the docket shows only that it was affirmed several months later. CNN even had a California attorney search the docket for anything that supported Burk’s claim. No record of the conviction being vacated was found.

“In assessing Burk’s credibility, it is also notable that he filed a legal action seeking ‘palimony’ from Ms. Johnson. The lawsuit was dismissed because the court found him to be a vexatious litigant. As I’m sure you already know, a vexatious litigant is someone who the court determines repeatedly makes meritless or false claims.

“We also talked with Mr. Gibble and looked into his background. Ms. Johnson says she has no memory of this man who claims to have managed her from 1992-1994. Mr. Gibble was unable to provide any documentary evidence that such a relationship existed. Mr. Gibble gave us the name of a casting agent he said could corroborate his claims but, despite multiple attempts, using multiple numbers over the past two days, CNN has been unable to reach her.

“As with Mr. Burk, Mr. Gibble admits he did not know Ms. Johnson at the time the alleged incident occurred. And like Mr. Burk, our research shows Mr. Gibble also has a criminal history. Indeed, he is a convicted felon — a detail you again omitted in your prior correspondence. CNN learned around the time period he claims he was managing Ms. Johnson, Gibble was tried and convicted for receiving stolen property and conspiracy to commit the robbery of a former client, for whom he spent two years in prison . . . ”

“In sum, at your request we contacted Mr. Burk and Mr. Gibble. Neither person had any specific knowledge about the claims Ms. Johnson is making. Both have a history of criminal behavior and engaging in acts involving dishonesty and moral turpitude. None of this information was disclosed by you. . . .”

To read Vigilante’s entire note, click over to TMZ.