Pubdate: 13 Dec 2001
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2002 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: Mark Jurkowitz


Al Giordano, the former Boston Phoenix journalist who now publishes the 
online Narco News Bulletin ( just won a major legal 
victory - a New York State Supreme Court judge dismissed a defamation suit 
filed by Banamex (Banco Nacional de Mexico) against Giordano, Narco News, 
and Mexican journalist Mario Menendez. The suit contended that the 
journalists had libeled the bank by connecting it to illegal narcotics 

In e-mail announcing the verdict, Giordano called the suit an "attack on 
our free speech and press freedom" and "the billionaires' abuse of the 
legal system to attack cyber liberties." Narco News attorney Thomas Lesser 
told the Globe the ruling broke important ground for online journalism 
since it concluded that the "Web site was entitled to the same protection 
that media defendants are entitled to under New York Times v. Sullivan," 
the landmark 1964 libel case that set current standards for defamation. 
Lesser said he was "pleasantly surprised" by the judge's decision to 
dismiss the case at this point, adding that "we're certainly considering, 
based on [the judge's] findings, bringing an appropriate motion or action 
to recoup our costs."

Banamex attorney Michael Madigan said he was still digesting the ruling and 
that "the matter involving the court's decision is currently under review. 
Banamex will vigorously pursue all of its options with respect to false and 
libelous statements" made about it.