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Defamation

On the premise that the charges in the sixth paragraph could be read as referring to him, respondent was allowed to prove that he had not participated in the events described. Although Dr. King’s home had in fact been bombed twice when his wife and child were there, both of these occasions antedated respondent’s tenure as Commissioner, and the police were not only not implicated in the bombings, but had made every effort to apprehend those who were. Three of Dr. King’s four arrests took place before respondent became Commissioner. Although Dr. King had in fact been indicted (he was subsequently acquitted) on two counts of perjury, each of which carried a possible five-year sentence, respondent had nothing to do with procuring the indictment.

Respondent made no effort to prove that he suffered actual pecuniary loss as a result of the alleged libel. One of his witnesses, a former employer, testified that if he had believed the statements, he doubted whether he ‘would want to be associated with anybody who would be a party to such things that are stated in that ad,’ and that he would not re-employ respondent if he believed ‘that he allowed the Police Department to do the things that the paper say he did.’ But neither this witness nor any of the others testified that he had actually believed the statements in their supposed reference to respondent.

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