Court Upholds Dismissal of Milken Book Suit
A New York appeals court has upheld the dismissal of a $35-million libel suit against the author and publisher of “Den of Thieves,” a book about former junk bond king Michael Milken and the insider trading scandals of the 1980s. The lawsuit was filed in 1992 by Michael F. Armstrong, the attorney for Milken’s brother, Lowell. Armstrong contended that he was wrongly accused in the 1991 book of trying to persuade a client, Craig Cogut, to sign a false affidavit exonerating Lowell Milken, who was then under investigation. The case was dismissed in 1999 by state Supreme Court Justice Barry Cozier, who said the disputed passages in the book were “substantially true.” The five-judge appeals panel said nothing about the truth of the statements in the book, but said Armstrong could not prove they were published with “actual malice.” “Den of Thieves,” a best-seller, was written by James B. Stewart, a former editor at the Wall Street Journal, and was published by Simon & Schuster Inc. Both Stewart and his publisher were named as defendants in the lawsuit. An attorney for Simon & Schuster said he was “very happy” with the ruling.
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