And so they meet again

It’s Howard Cooper versus the Boston Herald, round two.

Cooper, you may recall, is the Boston lawyer who represented then-judge Ernest Murphy in his libel suit against the Herald, which had portrayed him as someone who had “heartlessly” demeaned a teenage rape victim. Murphy won a $2 million-plus verdict against the Herald in 2005. I don’t think Murphy was libeled, but Cooper was able to convince a jury otherwise. Here is more than you’ll ever want to know about that case.

Now Cooper is suing the Herald on behalf of Tom Scholz of the band Boston, claiming that Inside Track reporters Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa fabricated quotes attributed to Micki Delp, ex-wife of Boston lead singer Brad Delp, as well as from unnamed “insiders,” to make it appear that Delp had blamed Scholz for her husband’s suicide.

Courthouse News Service has a detailed account of the suit, though there’s a mistake in the lede — Delp committed suicide in 2007, not 1997. The story is accompanied by a copy of the complaint (pdf). I have not had a chance to do more than skim it, so I’m staying away from any detailed analysis. I do see that Cooper cites Boston magazine’s 2006 story “Gals Gone Wild,” by John Gonzalez, as example of what Cooper calls Fee and Raposa’s “unprofessional, irresponsible and reckless tactics and methods.” For good measure, Cooper calls them “so-called ‘reporters.'”

The Herald has not yet filed a response. Herald spokeswoman Gwen Gage tells the Boston Globe, “We’re aware of the complaint and we will review it. Beyond that, we have no further comment.”

In 2006 Mark Jurkowitz wrote an in-depth profile of Cooper for the Boston Phoenix (via Romenesko). The headline: “The media’s worst nightmare?” At One Herald Square, the answer to that question would be a decided “yes.”

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4 thoughts on “And so they meet again

  1. Michael Pahre

    The Inside Track column in general reads to me like a lawsuit waiting to happen. Or a bunch of lawsuits. I can’t figure out their sourcing much of the time, and hence don’t know what to believe. I thought gossip was now the exclusive purview of blogs… and the supermarket tabloids?

    The Herald’s editors ought to rein them in. Or trade them to the Enquirer. I wonder what minor leaguers the Herald could get in exchange? How about someone put into nomination for a Pulitzer?

    1. Dan Kennedy

      @Michael: Heh. But keep in mind that the Herald hasn’t filed its response yet. The merits of the suit might look very different at that point.

  2. BP Myers

    Reports at the time said that in addition to his suicide note (which if I remember right, said something in French about him always being “a lonely soul”) he wrote a bunch of letters to family and friends.

    I imagine if things got really ugly, those notes could be subpoenad and entered into the public record. Not what Delp (or Scholz) would want, I imagine.

  3. Pingback: Media Nation » A troubling libel suit against the Herald

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