Newspaper Alleges Court Had Conflicts in Defamation Case

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By: The publisher of a suburban Chicago newspaper says the Illinois Supreme Court had conflicts of interest in a libel suit brought by its chief justice.

Shaw Suburban Media Group, which owns the Kane County Chronicle, wants three decisions against the paper vacated.

In a motion filed yesterday, the publisher argued that the court acted irresponsibly by assigning the case to a Cook County judge and acting as witnesses for Chief Justice Robert Thomas.

Thomas sued over columns written by former Chronicle columnist Bill Page that he alleged were untrue and damaged his reputation.

A jury ordered the Chronicle and Page to pay Thomas $7 million. A judge later reduced the award by $3 million.

The newspaper in June filed a federal lawsuit, arguing that it couldn't fairly appeal the verdict because Thomas heads the court.

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