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Settlement Reached in $30-Million Geraldo Suit

From United Press International

A settlement has been reached in a $30-million defamation lawsuit filed against television talk show host Geraldo Rivera by a woman arrested during a drug raid that was part of a live television special.

The settlement was reached Thursday after Rivera spent six hours giving a deposition in the suit. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

The suit filed by Terry Rouse, 32, claimed she was libeled and slandered by Rivera during the Dec. 2, 1986, television show “American Vice: The Doping of a Nation.”

Cocaine possession charges filed against Rouse as a result of the televised bust were dropped.

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Rivera provided commentary during the broadcast as Harris County Sheriff Johnny Klevenhagen and several deputies used a battering ram to break into a Channelview duplex where Rouse was staying. The woman was dragged out of a bathroom and handcuffed before an estimated 15 million viewers.

“Klevenhagen is going in on a duplex, where an alleged pimp and prostitute--a dude and his lady, real pros--are supplying truckers speed,” Rivera told the show’s nationwide audience.

Rouse has maintained she was hired to paint the house, which belonged to a friend.

Rivera said Thursday he did not feel responsible for defaming Rouse and that her attorneys were perpetuating “a dispute that should have been resolved long ago.”

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“My essential feeling is one of regret,” Rivera said before giving the deposition. “I think I’m here because attorneys think there is gold at the end of a rainbow and they are flogging a dead horse.”

Rouse’s attorney, Dale Jefferson, speculated Rivera’s attorneys were eager to settle before the suit went to trial Aug. 20 to avoid having Rivera’s salary discussed in open court.

In January, 1987, Rouse was arrested on three marijuana delivery charges, but a judge later reduced the charges and wiped her record clean. She already had served seven months in jail on the charges.


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