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BOSTON � A second defamation trial brought by former Maryland assistant state attorney Marc E. Mandel against alternative newspaper company the Boston Phoenix Inc. ended in mistrial and a hung jury on December 11. Mandel sued the Boston Phoenix for defamation and republication of defamatory material for a 2003 article about family courts that said Mandel was a “child molester” who had “assaulted” his daughter from his first marriage. Mandel v. The Boston Phoenix Inc., No. 03-10687 (D. Mass.) Boston Phoenix lawyer Dan Gleason of Boston’s Nutter, McClennen & Fish said the Boston Phoenix is proud to have published the article in question, “Children at Risk.” “It is a lengthy piece that raises important issues about family courts and their treatment of the sensitive topic of child abuse allegations,” Gleason said. “While we are disappointed that the jury was not able to reach a unanimous verdict on this emotionally charged issue, we look forward to the opportunity to further defend the case before a new jury in January 2008.” Mandel’s lawyer Stephen J. Cullen, who practices in the Towson, Md. office of Baltimore’s Miles & Stockbridge, declined to talk about the case. Mandel won a $950,000 judgment against the Phoenix in Dec. 2004. The 1st Circuit vacated that judgment and ruled that the lower court made a “premature pretrial decision” that Mandel was a private figure and not a public official in terms of libel-law. Mandel v. The Boston Phoenix Inc., 456 F.3d 198 (1st Cir. 2006) Following a bench trial, district court Judge Richard G. Stearns ruled that Mandel was a public official.

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