The Fayette Citizen-News Page

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Libel lawsuit filed against Fayette Daily


A political science professor from the State University of West Georgia has filed a libel suit against the Fayette Daily News of Fayetteville. The Carrollton, Ga., professor charges that his reputation was harmed by two articles the paper published in April 2003.

The articles featured comments from local resident Andrew Billingsley, a student at the university at the time. Billingsley accused Professor Said L. Sewell of making inappropriate remarks during an American Government class.

The suit accuses the paper of libel, slander, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

In the suit, Sewell claims that he “did not call or liken George W. Bush to a fascist ... did not make anti-American statements ... did not call or liken the U.S. government as fascist and ... did not state that American troops had murdered people.”

Sewell also alleges that the newspaper has neglected to publish a retraction or apology despite being asked to.

Fayette Daily News publisher Chuck Morley said Tuesday that the lawsuit was “no big deal.” He added that the newspaper hoped to have the suit dismissed with a summary judgment ruling which would halt the suit before a trial if a judge determines the suit is groundless.

“It’s in the hands of our attorneys,” Morley said.

Morley was named a party to the suit along with Trib Publications Inc., the paper’s parent company, and managing editor Cindy Morley, who authored the stories.

The suit was filed in Fayette County Superior Court April 2. Sewell is seeking “nominal, special, general compensatory and punitive damages” but no dollar amount was specified in the suit.


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