Spitzer, Slate slapped with lawsuits

Aug. 23, 2011 at 11:09 AM
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NEW YORK, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Two insurance brokers filed multimillion-dollar defamation lawsuits against Slate magazine and columnist and former New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer.

The suits -- one seeking at least $60 million in federal court and the other seeking at least $30 million in New York state court -- allege Spitzer targeted the insurance brokers William Gilman and Edward McNenney for prosecution when he was New York's attorney general, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Both men, employed by Marsh & McLennan, were acquitted of all but one charge. Marsh & McLennan, however, was accused of fixing prices and rigging bids, among other things, and settled the case for an $850 million fine.

In a column he wrote last summer, Spitzer used the case as an example of what he said the still-lacking government regulation over the financial system. While he didn't mention the brokers by name, he cited the $850 million settlement and made a general reference to "criminal conduct" at the company, the Time said.

Spitzer said Monday he would be defended vigorously, calling the lawsuit "entirely frivolous."

Slate Editor David Plotz said, "This is a baseless lawsuit and we look forward to defending it."

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