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Liddy Defamation Lawsuit Dismissed

April 14, 1998

BALTIMORE (AP) _ Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy said Tuesday he felt vindicated by the dismissal of a defamation lawsuit against him brought by a former Democratic National Committee secretary.

Ida M. Wells, the former secretary, sued Liddy in April 1997, alleging that Liddy had suggested in speeches that she procured prostitutes for visitors at the DNC in the 1970s.

Liddy began talking about Wells after John Dean, onetime counsel to former President Richard Nixon, filed suit against him and several others in connection with the 1991 book, ``Silent Coup,″ which claimed that Dean was the mastermind behind the Watergate break-in.

Liddy’s attorneys began investigating Wells while doing research for the Dean lawsuit.

``There was evidence that suggested that she played a role in setting up liaisons and that the break-in was an effort by some of the burglars to obtain sexual information,″ said Liddy’s attorney, John B. Williams.

In a 27-page ruling released Monday, U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz in Baltimore ruled that Wells was an involuntary public figure. That means she would have had to prove that Liddy acted with ``actual malice,″ meaning that he knew the information was false and told people anyway.

Wells’ attorney, David Branson, said he would like to take the case to a jury and would appeal the judge’s decision.

``Essentially this gives Mr. Liddy a license to defame her,″ Branson said. ``I don’t think Mr. Liddy has anything personal against her, or against anyone. He just makes money doing this.″

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