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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Greene plans to sue Times, Herald



Jeff Greene, the billionaire who unsuccessfully challenged Kendrick Meek for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, is preparing to sue the St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald, claiming stories the newspapers published cost him his bid.

During a bruising primary, Greene faced a series of questions about parties aboard his yacht and fraudulent real estate deals. Greene has singled out two news articles that were printed in the Times and the Herald, and an editorial in the Times.

“I want to send a message to every newspaper in the country: Do your homework,” Greene said in an interview with the New York Times on Tuesday.

Neil Brown, editor of St. Petersburg Times, defended the paper’s articles. “The Times’ coverage of Mr. Greene and his business transactions has been thorough and fair, and the reporting is well-documented in public records,” he wrote in an e-mail to the New York Times.

Greene, who said he will seek at least $500 million in damages, has hired L. Lin Wood, a prominent libel lawyer. Wood told the newspaper he expects to file a formal complaint Wednesday in state court in Miami-Dade County.

From the NYT story:

In one article, The Times reported that Greene was party to a real estate deal that left 300 California families homeless and a partner of his in jail. The other left the impression that boxer Mike Tyson, who was the best man at Greene’s wedding, used drugs while on Greene’s yacht. The paper later ran a front-page correction clarifying that Tyson said he had not used drugs on the yacht.

Even with an admission of error, a libel case can be hard to prove. Sandra S. Baron, executive director of the Media Law Resource Center, said, “Jeff Greene is going to have to prove that the articles were published with actual malice.”

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:26am]


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