NEW YORK — A Fox News Channel executive fired because of a sexual-harassment case has proclaimed his innocence in a lawsuit, saying he was tricked into signing an agreement to keep quiet about the case.

The network announced earlier this year it was paying $2.5 million to settle an assault claim by former contributor Tamara Holder. But fired executive Francisco Cortes says he had a consensual relationship with Holder.

Cortes says in a lawsuit filed Tuesday he couldn’t defend himself at the time of the settlement because he had signed an agreement he believed compelled all sides not to talk. He says he was made a scapegoat in Fox’s effort to seem responsive to assault claims.

Cortes is seeking more than $36 million from Fox parent Twenty-First Century Fox.

Fox calls the lawsuit’s allegations frivolous and without merit.