CHICAGO (CN) – A Chicago Tribune reporter was properly acquitted of defamation, despite an inaccuracy in his story about an assistant state’s attorney accused of obstructing justice, the Illinois Court of Appeals ruled.
Maurice Possley wrote a story about assistant prosecutor Thomas Knight’s trial for alleged improprieties in the murder prosecution of Rolando Cruz. Possley and Cruz were acquitted in their respective trials.
Knight’s lawsuit focused on the inaccurate report that he had told a medical examiner to “keep his mouth shut” about the fact that the suspect’s boot print did not match the boot print on the victim’s door.
The jury ruled that Possley did not act with actual malice by printing the incorrect statement about Knight.
That finding, alone, mandates a judgment in favor of the defendants, Justice Murphy ruled.
The court rejected Knight’s claim that negative publicity had prejudiced the jurors.