(AP) The judge suing the Boston Herald for libel said Tuesday that he got piles of hate mail, including death threats that prompted him to buy a gun, after the paper ran articles depicting him as lenient on criminals.
Judge Ernest Murphy sued the Herald and four of its reporters after the newspaper published a series of critical stories, including one in which Murphy is quoted as saying, “Tell her to get over it,” in reference to a 14-year-old rape victim.
Murphy, 61, insists he never made the comment. The newspaper has stood by its reporting.
Testifying for a second day Tuesday, the judge said he got mail from as far away as London and Los Angeles after Herald reporter David Wedge appeared on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” to discuss the stories.
At least three death threats were included, including one featuring the judge’s picture with a bull’s-eye on his forehead and the words “you’re dead.” Another was stuffed with tissues smeared with feces.
Murphy said he was so traumatized that he changed the locks, installed more lighting at his home, and bought a gun.
“I was afraid that someone was going to shoot me through that window,” he said.
The Herald’s attorneys spent about 30 minutes cross-examining Murphy after he testified on his own behalf.
Because he is a public figure, Murphy must prove the Herald maliciously reported material its reporters knew was false, a higher standard than the requirement a nonpublic figure must meet to win a libel case.