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Albany � Continuing its long tradition of protective press rulings, the Court of Appeals yesterday held the former husband of entertainer Melba Moore to a standard of showing gross irresponsibility in a pending libel action against The Daily News. The Court said it would not, absent clear abuse, second-guess the newspaper’s editorial judgment that the matter was of public interest, therefore invoking a higher standard of proof.

The crux of the case was whether the content of articles written by a Daily News gossip columnist about Ms. Moore’s divorce from Charles Huggins was of such “legitimate public concern” as to invoke the gross irresponsibility standard rather than simple negligence. Unanimously, the Court voted for the higher standard, saying judges should generally refrain from imposing their views of newsworthiness on the media.

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