NEW YORK (AP) - Citing his wish to shield his family, Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly settled a harassment lawsuit brought by a former producer accusing him of graphically discussing sex with her.
"This brutal ordeal is now officially over, and I will never speak of it again," O'Reilly said on Thursday night's edition of his talk show, "The O'Reilly Factor."
O'Reilly, who is married with two children, also dropped an extortion lawsuit against his accuser and her lawyer. Both sides have agreed to keep the details confidential, O'Reilly's attorney said.
Andrea Mackris, 33, who was a producer on the show, sued the outspoken, top-rated TV host Oct. 13, alleging O'Reilly made a series of explicit phone calls to her, advised her to use a vibrator and telling her about sexual fantasies involving her.
Earlier that day, O'Reilly, 55, filed a lawsuit accusing Mackris and her lawyer of trying to extort $60 million in "hush money" over her allegations.
"This matter has caused enormous pain, but I had to protect my family, and I did," O'Reilly, whose ratings have gone up 30 percent since the lawsuits were filed, told his viewers Thursday. "All I can say to you is please do not believe everything you hear and read."
Shortly before "Factor" aired, O'Reilly's lawyer, Ronald Green, issued a statement saying the cases and claims had been withdrawn and all parties agreed there was no wrongdoing by O'Reilly, Mackris or Mackris' lawyer.
On Friday, lawyers for both sides signed legal papers formally ending the extortion claim against Mackris, said Dan Bagnuola, a spokesman for Nassau County state court. The lawyers declined to speak to reporters.
Green's statement about the settlement did not mention money, and it could not be learned immediately whether it was a factor.
Mackris' lawyer didn't return several telephone calls seeking comment.
Earlier, O'Reilly had vowed to fight the accusations.
"If I have to go down, I'm willing to do it," he said just after the suits were filed. "I'm going to take a stand. I'm a big mouth on the air and I'm a big mouth off the air."
He called the case "the single most evil thing I have ever experienced, and I've seen a lot. But these people picked the wrong guy."
Green had refused to confirm or deny specific things that Mackris claimed O'Reilly said to her, but he said at the time that O'Reilly "denies that he has done anything that rises to the level of unlawful sexual harassment.