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Court: King wasn’t defamed

The Florida Court of Appeals has affirmed the 2008 decision of a Florida trial court judge who tossed out promoter Don King’s $2.5 billion libel suit against ESPN. The lawsuit said a 2004 biographic piece aired on ESPN unfairly portrayed King “by creating an inference and innuendo that Don King was dishonest and engaged in illegal activities, including physically endangering others in order to succeed in his profession.”

Decision of the District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District: “After reviewing the summary judgment evidence and the arguments of counsel, we conclude that the trial court did not err in granting summary judgment on King’s defamation claim. ESPN did not act recklessly by relying on statements made by [Don] Elbaum and [Jack] Newfield. Moreover, although it exercised editorial discretion by creating a particular theme for its program, there is no evidence that it published the challenged statements with knowledge of their falsity or with any serious doubt as to their truth. Thus, King did not meet his burden of presenting record evidence sufficient to satisfy the trial court that a genuine issue of material fact exists which would allow a jury to find actual malice by clear and convincing evidence.”




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