It’s the libel case that set free speech advocates reeling: Noonan v. Staples Inc. In February a federal appeals court held that truth is not always an absolute defense to claims of libel — and kicked the case back to a jury.

Now the people have spoken. Late last week, a Massachusetts jury found that a mass e-mail sent out by Staples about an employee who was fired for violating the company’s travel and expense policy was not sent with actual malice.

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