MIAMI, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- A Florida billionaire and defeated primary candidate for the U.S. Senate filed a lawsuit accusing two newspapers of trying to destroy his candidacy.
Jeff Greene alleged in a libel suit filed Wednesday in Miami-Dade circuit court against The Miami Herald and the St. Petersburg Times that the two newspapers put together a "plan to assassinate (his) character" that caused him to lose the Democratic primary to U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Fla., by 26 percentage points, The Palm Beach Post reported.
The two stories at issue in Greene's suit were written and edited by Times staff members and were also published in the Herald.
The suit said the newspapers published stories about Greene's California real estate transactions and his 145-foot yacht Summerwind that were "knowingly based on false information.''
Greene is represented by prominent Atlanta lawyer L. Lin Wood and seeks $500 million in damages from the newspapers, the Post said.
"We don't have any comment on the lawsuit, since the case was just filed. But we can say that the coverage of this race and the candidates was fair, deep and thorough," Herald Executive Editor Anders Gyllenhaal said.
"It is our firm opinion that the allegations in this lawsuit are preposterous. We believe Jeff Greene is a sore loser and he's blaming the newspapers because he can't accept the verdict of the voters," Times Editor Neil Brown said.
"Democracy won't work if we let lawsuits full of baseless charges from a political candidate inhibit us from providing voters with the independent information that they need and rely on,'' Brown said.