Tennessee high court rules for reporter in defamation suit

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Nashville television reporter sued for defamation by the local district attorney.

Tennessee’s fair report privilege protects reporters from defamation suits when they report fairly and accurately on an official action or proceeding. But District Attorney Glenn Funk argued in court there is an exception when the reporter acts out of malice.

In a Wednesday ruling, the high court ruled there is no exception for malice.

But the case is not over. It now goes back to the lower court to determine whether the news reports were accurate and based on an official proceeding.

Funk sued Phil Williams and Scripps Media over reports based on sealed court documents. Funk interpreted the reports as accusing him of soliciting a bribe and blackmail.

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