NY Post Hit With $20 Million Defamation Suit From Mohawk Tribe

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NY Post Hit With $20 Million Defamation Suit From Mohawk Tribe

Fri Feb 22, 2008 @ 10:22AM PST

Posted by Eriq Gardner

Newyorkpost_2 The New York Post is in hot water again for allegedly defamatory statements the paper made in regards to a possible deal between an upstate New York Native American tribe and the state government.

In an editorial that ran last February, the paper criticized Governor Elliot Spitzer for green-lighting a partnership between the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council and a private firm to build a $600 million casino in the economically troubled Catskills. The paper wrote:

However, doing a deal with this particular tribe — with its extended history of often-violent criminality — is a travesty. Over the past eight years, the feds have cited the St. Regis Mohawks in connection with a $687 million smuggling operation involving illegal liquor, cigarettes and guns. They've also done a brisk business smuggling people — transporting more than 3,600 illegal aliens from China into America through the St. Regis reservation...They've also occasionally engaged in shoot-outs with the New York State Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian army. Not exactly good neighbors, we'd say.

Harsh words, to be sure. And now the Mohawk Tribe is suing the paper for $20 million, saying the editorial was "false, untrue, defamatory, libelous..."

This complaint also points out a second editorial that ran this year on January 8 that repeated many of the allegations. Russell Barr of Barr & Associates is representing the plaintiffs.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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