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Wayne Newton Faces Deadline on Suit Award

Associated Press

A federal judge has given singer Wayne Newton until Feb. 1 to accept a reduced $5.3-million award in his libel suit against the National Broadcasting Co. or face the prospect of proving his case again in a new trial.

U.S. District Judge Myron Crocker set the deadline for Newton to accept the money or go through a complete new trial in the 8-year-old case against the network.

Crocker’s decision, filed last week in Fresno, came after attorneys for Newton argued for a new trial solely on the issue of damages, while NBC attorneys sought a complete rerun of the original 1986 Las Vegas trial, which lasted eight weeks.

Crocker said in the ruling that he is “convinced that the issues of liability and damages are so intertwined that they should be determined by the same jury.”

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Newton’s attorney, Morton Galane, was not immediately available for comment on what the entertainer might decide to do.

Newton won a record $22.8-million verdict against the network when a jury ruled that the singer was defamed in a series of NBC broadcasts that allegedly linked him to organized crime figures.

Crocker, however, later threw out all but $5.3 million of the award, and gave Newton the option of accepting the money or seeking a new trial strictly on damages.


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