By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated January 23, 2003 11:34 AM
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Former British cavalry officer James Hewitt, dubbed the “Love Rat” for kissing and telling of his five-year affair with Princess Diana — and even selling his story to a tabloid — has now been done in by a tabloid report saying that he was up for a news job.

FOX News Channel was prepared to hire Hewitt, 44, as a war correspondent but lost its nerve after Britain’s Daily Mirror reported on the budding deal, according to Hewitt’s lawyer, Michael Coleman, the Associated Press reports.

Last week’s Mirror headline about the Hewitt-FOX relationship read: “Murdoch Hires the Desert Rat.” (Murdoch is media baron Rupert Murdoch, who owns FOX, among other holdings, and whose London papers are rivals of the Mirror’s.)

Hewitt, a former tank commander for the British army in the Gulf War, is currently said to be strapped for cash, and earlier this month told CNN’s Larry King that he is prepared to sell his love letters from Diana to the highest bidder.

Coleman called FOX’s change of heart “a big kick in the teeth” for his client, saying, “I can’t figure out why they’re doing this … We don’t know what’s going on. But, obviously, someone behind the scenes went berserk and said, ‘Whatever you do, just get rid of him.'”

FOX News Channel representatives did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

In related news, AP also reports that a 1991 letter from Prince Charles and Diana thanking a paramedic who treated their elder son, Prince William, after he was hit on the head with a golf club, is expected to fetch about $2,500 when it goes on the block Jan. 29.