Eliot Spitzer and Slate Hit with a $60 Million Libel Suit

A Wall Street executive says Spitzer wrongly accused him of price-fixing

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After Eliot Spitzer was forced to resign as governor of New York in 2008 for using the services of hookers, he slowly made his way back from "luv guv" to media personality by writing a column for Slate. His punditry eventually landed him an hour-long show on CNN (though it was cancelled last month). But those columns have also led to a fresh headache: he's is being sued for $60 million by a Wall Street executive who says Spitzer libeled him. Reuters' Jonathan Stempel reports that William Gilman, a former executive marketing director for Marsh & McLennan Cos Inc, says Spitzer showed "actual malice" when his August 22, 2010 article suggested Gilman was guilty of an anti-trust charge that had been thrown out of court.

Backstory: In 2004, when Spitzer was governor, New York's attorney general began investigating Marsh's practices, including allegations of kickbacks to insurers. Gilman and seven other insurance executives were indicted in 2005 after Marsh agreed to an $850 million civil settlement. Gilman himself was convicted in 2008 on a felony anti-trust charge. In 2010, a judge threw out the conviction because of new evidence in the case. In January, Gilman's case was dismissed; so were the cases of some of the other seven executives, while others were acquitted.
Today: Gilman says this Spitzer statement defamed him: "Marsh's behavior was a blatant abuse of law and market power: price-fixing, bid-rigging and kickbacks all designed to harm their customers and the market while Marsh and its employees pocketed the increased fees and kickbacks." And, he says, so did Spitzer's argument that "many employees of Marsh" were "convicted and sentenced to jail terms" even though none of them had been.
Gilman wants $10 million of compensatory damages; $20 million in general damages, and $30 million in punitive damages.
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