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Judge rules in favor of 10 Connects and reporter Mike Deeson in defamation lawsuit

WTSP-Ch. 10 reporter Mike Deeson commented on this jail surveillance video during a story in February 2008.

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

WTSP-Ch. 10 reporter Mike Deeson commented on this jail surveillance video during a story in February 2008.

TAMPA — A Hillsborough judge has ruled in favor of WTSP-Ch. 10 and reporter Mike Deeson, who were sued for defamation last year by a Hillsborough County sheriff's corporal.

Cpl. Steven Dickey sued after 10 Connects aired a story about a quadriplegic man, Brian Sterner, who was dumped out of his wheelchair while being booked at the Orient Road Jail. Surveillance video shows Dickey smiling.

In the February 2008 story, Deeson says Dickey "appears to think it's funny."

Dickey's suit alleged that Deeson edited the tape to make it look like the corporal was involved in the dumping, approved of it and thought it was funny.

Circuit Judge William P. Levens ruled on Sept. 8 that the broadcast was a fair report of a public record, Deeson's statement was an opinion, the report was substantially true and there was no evidence of actual malice.

Dickey's attorney filed a motion Friday asking a judge for a rehearing. Until the judge changes his mind, the case is closed.

Judge rules in favor of 10 Connects and reporter Mike Deeson in defamation lawsuit 09/17/10 [Last modified: Saturday, September 18, 2010 1:04am]

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