BOSTON, April 16 (UPI) -- Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, on the eve of a federal trial in Boston, dropped his civil rights suit against the Commission on Presidential Debates, it was reported Tuesday.
The commission reportedly agreed to apologize and pay a small amount of money to Nader for barring him from attending the presidential debate in Boston in October 2000.
The letter of apology has not been finalized and the amount of money was not disclosed, the Boston Globe said.
On Oct. 3 at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, security officials prevented Nader from entering the hall where Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Vice President Al Gore conducted the first debate of the 2000 presidential campaign.
Officials reportedly were concerned that Nader, who complained that he as a third-party candidate had not been invited to participate, would attempt to disrupt the debate because he had declared two days earlier, "Maybe I'll crawl up on the stage there," the Globe said.
"The debates are produced for a huge national and international audience," said Janet Brown, executive director of the commission. "We try very hard to avoid disruption."
Brown said the commission, a nonprofit group that has been sponsoring presidential debates since 1988, did not believe Nader's claims were substantiated, and was glad that the suit had been resolved.
Nader had claimed his civil rights were violated because he was not allowed inside the hall, but Chief U.S. District Judge William G. Young suggested at pretrial hearings in February that Nader had little evidence to support his case.
The Globe said Nader's lawyers, after last-minute depositions weakened his case, contacted the commission last week to discuss a settlement.
Twice postponed, the case had been scheduled to go to trial Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Boston.