NEW YORK--Richard Jefferson (63), who won two Emmy awards in a distinguished career at CBS News before taking on the network in a gay discrimination lawsuit, died on May 4 at St. Luke's Hospital, New York.
Jefferson’s connection with St. Maarten was through a gay bashing incident in 2006.
CBS colleagues said Jefferson was a whirling blur of motion in the newsroom, racing, script in hand, to a reporter's desk for a consultation, or to a graphic artist for a last minute change.
But Jefferson's tenure soured when he said the company turned its back on him after fiends assaulted him and several friends during a gay bashing attack in 2006 while they vacationed in St. Maarten.
Jefferson was hit in the head with a tire iron, and the attack left him with a metal plate in his head.
Jefferson said he was subsequently harassed because of his sexual orientation, and fired for publicly discussing the attack, joining gay rights group to complain about the way local police handled the incident. A network spokeswoman said at the time that he was dismissed because of job performance issues.
Jefferson sued the network in 2007.
In recent, years Jefferson was an executive producer with Arise News, and worked as a planning desk editor for Al Jazeera and as a freelance writer for CNN.
Jefferson also practiced law at the office of attorney Neal Brickman in New York City from 2009-2012, with a specialty in employment discrimination.
Jefferson's passion for journalism began at the University of Texas at Austin. He earned a master's degree in communications management from the University of Southern California, and graduated with honors from law school at the University of Detroit.
Jefferson's dream of a career in journalism began at KLBJ radio in Austin, Texas followed by stints at KNXT in Los Angeles, WJXT in Jacksonville and WDIV in Detroit.
In 1989 he joined CBS News, where he was the senior broadcast producer of various broadcasts including CBS This Morning, the CBS Weekend News, the CBS Evening News and CBS special events.
Jefferson is survived by his brother Alan Jefferson of Nederland, Texas.