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Mar 29, 3:19 PM EDT

Benched legal analyst returns to Fox, stands by story


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NEW YORK (AP) -- Fox News Channel legal analyst Andrew Napolitano returned to the air Wednesday, saying he stood by his claim about spying on President Donald Trump that got him benched by the network for more than a week.

Napolitano had reported on Fox that British intelligence officials had helped former President Barack Obama spy on Trump, a story that quickly attracted notice because the president cited it in a news conference. Britain denied that it had done any such thing, and Fox news anchors Shepard Smith and Bret Baier distanced the network from the report, saying its reporters had found no evidence that Trump had been under surveillance.

Fox said on March 21 that it was taking Napolitano off the air for an indefinite period. The former New Jersey judge has worked at Fox News and Fox Business Network as an analyst since 1998.

In his return Wednesday, Napolitano told anchor Bill Hemmer that he stood by his story - and Hemmer didn't mention that others at Fox had been unable to verify it.

"You've had a few quiet days," Hemmer told him. "You likely needed them."

Napolitano said he and his sources stand by the story, although he offered no new details.

"The American public needs to know more about this rather than less because a lot of the government surveillance authorities will expire in the fall and there'll be a great debate about how much authority we want the government to have to surveil us," he said. "And the more the American public knows about this, the more informed their and Congress' decisions will be."

Hemmer and Napolitano then moved on to another topic. Fox didn't explain to its viewers Wednesday why Napolitano had been off the air.

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