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Court dismisses Greenberg’s defamation suit against Spitzer


A New York state court judge on Thursday dismissed a long-running defamation lawsuit filed by former American International Group Inc. chairman Maurice R. Greenberg against Eliot L. Spitzer, New York’s former attorney general.

Mr. Greenberg had objected to statements Mr. Spitzer, who later resigned as New York governor after a prostitution scandal, made in television interviews in 2012 and a book, “Protecting Capitalism Case by Case” in 2013. An appeals court previously overturned an earlier trial court ruling in the case.

In his 69-page ruling in Maurice R. Greenberg v. Eliot L. Spitzer, Judge Victor G. Grossman, of New York Supreme Court, a state trial court in Carmel, New York, said there is “no evidence offered that Defendant ‘entertained serious doubts as to the truth of his publication’ as required for establishing that he acted with a reckless disregard for the truth.”

Some of the comments centered on a finite risk transaction that prosecutors alleged was fraudulent and lead to a high-profile trial.

“It appears Plaintiff’s objection is that Defendant disagreed with him and rejected Plaintiff’s theory of aggressive, but lawful accounting, preferring instead a conclusion that the transaction was replete with deception.”

The ruling concludes that Mr. Greenberg “has failed to present evidence upon which a reasonable jury could find actual malice by clear and convincing evidence. That burden is an extremely high one, and it has not been met.”

A spokesman for Mr. Greenberg, who is now chairman of Starr Insurance Cos., and Mr. Spitzer’s attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.