Judge dismisses claim against Gallup newspaper

Posted at: 10/16/2012 12:20 PM
Updated at: 10/16/2012 3:48 PM
By: The Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Former Gallup Mayor Harry Mendoza says he will challenge the dismissal of the final claim in a lawsuit he filed against a newspaper and its publisher.

Mendoza contends the Gallup Independent and Robert Zollinger portrayed him in a false light and invaded his privacy when they alleged that he participated in a 1948 gang rape.

Mendoza was not convicted in the attack.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that state District Judge Louis DePauli has ruled that Mendoza cannot seek damages on those claims because he undoubtedly was a public figure.

DePauli says he mistakenly had ruled the opposite way during a trial on the lawsuit that ended when jurors announced they were deadlocked.

Zollinger said Tuesday that he believes the appellate court will side with him and the newspaper.

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