Billy Bush lawyer: Bush risked firing if he rebuked Trump

Associated Press
FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2016 file photo released by NBC, co-host Billy Bush appears on the "Today" show in New York.  The fallout over Bush's lewd conversation with Donald Trump has left NBC's "Today" show unexpectedly looking for help in its third hour and Bush pondering how to resurrect his career. (Peter Kramer/NBC via AP, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2016 file photo released by NBC, co-host Billy Bush appears on the "Today" show in New York. The fallout over Bush's lewd conversation with Donald Trump has left NBC's "Today" show unexpectedly looking for help in its third hour and Bush pondering how to resurrect his career. (Peter Kramer/NBC via AP, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An attorney for Billy Bush is defending the TV personality's part in a lewd 2005 exchange with Donald Trump.

Marshall Grossman told The Hollywood Reporter that Bush would have been fired from his then-job with "Access Hollywood" if he'd been passive or told Trump to shut up.

Grossman noted Bush was a NBC Universal employee talking with NBC's "The Apprentice" star.

The attorney, who was quoted by the trade paper online Thursday, declined comment when reached by phone.

Bush, who joined NBC News' "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.

Both NBC and "Access Hollywood" declined to comment on the report. A publicist for Bush didn't immediately respond when asked for comment.