Chiquita Lawyer Pleads Innocent

By: Jason Williams Chiquita Lawyer Pleads Innocent
George Ventura, the former lawyer for Chiquita Brands International Inc. accused of illegally providing voice mail to two former Cincinnati Enquirer reporters, pleaded innocent and filed a motion to dismiss, claiming prosecutors unfairly targeted him in their investigation and used methods that violated his constitutional rights.
According to The Associated Press, Ventura faces 12 1/2 years in prison if he is convicted on charges of unlawful interception of communications and unauthorized access to computer systems. Ventura, now an attorney in Salt Lake City, was named as the source of the voice mail by Michael Gallagher, the former Enquirer reporter who used the voice mail to write a series on Chiquita's improper business dealings in Central America.
Gallagher pleaded guilty in September and awaits sentencing that could be up to 2 1/2 years in prison. The other reporter, Cameron McWhirter, has not been charged and currently works for The Detroit News.
In June, the Enquirer fired Gallagher, issued a front-page apology to Chiquita, and gave the company more than $10 million. The newspaper retracted the story because it said Gallagher obtained his information illegally.

?(Editor & Publisher Web [Caption]
?(copyright: Editor & Publisher April 17, 1999) [Caption]


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here