Herald loses libel suit by woman a reporter said had sex with a prison inmate

UPDATE: Herald stands by story, calling it "not only excellent, but important, leading as it did to a Department of Corrections investigation and certain reform measures."

Chris King, who has been reporting on Joanna Marinova's lawsuit against the Herald in Suffolk Superior Court, reports the jury today found for Marinova in her claims that the Herald and reporter Jessica Van Sack libeled her by claiming state Rep. Gloria Fox had snuck her into the Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater in 2009 to see her boyfriend, serving a murder sentence, after Marinova had allegedly been "bagged" for having sex with the man on earlier visits.

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reports the jury awarded Marinova $563,000:

[Her lawyer], who helped secure a $2.1 million verdict in 2005 against the newspaper on behalf of former Superior Court Judge Ernest B. Murphy - argued that the story was intended to sensationalize a trip that his client and Rep. Gloria Fox made to the prison to investigate alleged incidents of inmate abuse.

The "sexual acts" turned out to not be sexual at all - a kiss and a knee touch, for which the inmate, not Marinova, was disciplined.

Part of the Herald's initial defense had been that saying somebody had been "bagged" for "engaging in 'sexual acts' " was not the same as saying somebody had had sex, but a judge dismissed that argument and let the case proceed. Marinova reached an out-of-court settlement with WHDH, which aired a similar story to the Herald's

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    Comments

    Herald and WHDH

    By on

    The Herald and WHDH...what outstanding sources of journalism in our world class city. Someone at WHDH probably picked up the story from reading the Herald.

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    The Herald

    the bastion of truth and fairness musty not let this injustice stand. If you can't sell papers to your demo sweet spot attacking a black state rep and a latina with a minority prisoner thrown in then whats America coming to? I truly hope this does not impact their agenda free columnists or the fine work they do exposing the corruption of non whites and the poor.

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