Posted February 16, 2019 07:09:07 A lawsuit filed by the Orlando Sun on Wednesday accuses the newspaper of defamation and breach of contract over a June 25, 2019, story in which a police officer said he had witnessed a suspect shoot at officers.
The Sentinel’s lawyer, Michael Goguen, said the lawsuit filed in state District Court against the newspaper alleges the newspaper breached the contract by falsely reporting the incident and misrepresenting its version of events to the public.
The newspaper says the lawsuit is based on a claim that the paper falsely reported the shooting in its story about the officer’s account of what he saw.
In its suit, the Sentinel alleges the paper violated a clause in the newspaper’s contract that prohibits reporting of the identity of the police officer involved in the shooting, which occurred on June 25.
In its lawsuit, the newspaper says Gogus also alleges the Sun falsely reported that the shooting was an act of terrorism, in violation of an agreement the paper signed in May.
The lawsuit was filed by Michael Gaguen and three other attorneys representing the Sun, including former Sentinel reporter Jason Witte.
The lawsuit names the newspaper and its publisher, News Corp., as defendants.
A reporter for the newspaper, who requested anonymity, said on Wednesday that the suit could take years to resolve.
The Sentinel, based in the city of Orlando, was the second largest newspaper in the state of Florida.
The newsroom was closed in June after the shooting of Philando Castile by police, who were investigating the shooting as a possible hate crime.
The newspaper’s editorial board has been accused of favoring President Donald Trump’s position on the issue.
The shooting occurred days after Castile’s girlfriend and three others were killed by a white supremacist.
In the lawsuit, Gogut says the Sentinel’s reporting of what happened to Castile was misleading and inaccurate.
Goguens attorney, John Buford, said there is a “deep distrust” in the media of the media and police in general.
He said the newspaper had a duty to disclose the details of what occurred, but did not do so, in part because it did not want to jeopardize the pending trial.
Gaguens lawsuit asks for unspecified damages for the damage to the newspaper caused by the lawsuit and a declaratory judgment barring future defamation lawsuits.