POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (AP) _ A jury ruled Monday that the Rev. Al Sharpton and two other legal advisers to Tawana Brawley defamed a former prosecutor in accusing him of raping the black teen-ager in 1987. The jury will now decide how much to award the ex-prosecutor in damages.
The verdict came after a tumultuous, eight-month trial and five days of deliberations in Steven Pagones’ $395 million lawsuit against Sharpton, Alton Maddox Jr. and C. Vernon Mason.
The jury found Sharpton liable for making seven defamatory statements about Pagones, Maddox for two and Mason for one. Pagones, a former assistant county prosecutor, is white; all three Brawley advisers are black.
The racially inflammatory case began in 1987, Miss Brawley, then 15, was found four days after disappearing from her home. She was discovered in a garbage bag with dog feces smeared on her body and racial epithets scrawled on her. She claimed a gang of white law enforcement officers had abducted and raped her.
Eventually, a grand jury pronounced her story a hoax.
But during the furor, the advisers leveled repeated, unsubstantiated charges that Pagones was among those who abducted and raped Miss Brawley.