Billy Bush would have been fired if he had rebuked Donald Trump, lawyer claims

A lawyer for television presenter Billy Bush has defended his client's part in a lewd exchange with Donald Trump in 2005.

Marshall Grossman told the Hollywood Reporter that Bush would have been fired from his then-job with Access Hollywood if he had told the Republican presidential candidate to shut up.

Grossman noted that Bush was a NBC Universal employee talking with the star of NBC's The Apprentice when Trump was recorded talking about grabbing women "by the pussy".

Billy Bush
Billy Bush (Chris Pizzello AP)

He said: "If Billy had been passive or responded 'Shut the fuck up' to Trump, Billy would have been out of a job the next day."

The lawyer, who was quoted by the trade paper on Thursday, declined comment later when reached by phone.

Bush, who has joined NBC News's Today as a co-host in recent months, was suspended after the tape became public last week. NBC is said to be privately negotiating his exit.

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