March 3, 2021

Spitzer and Slate Face Defamation Lawsuit

The suits, one in federal court seeking at least $60 million, and another in New York state court for at least $30 million, were filed on behalf of two insurance brokers who were the target of a prosecution by Mr. Spitzer when he was the attorney general of New York.

The insurance executives, William Gilman and Edward McNenney, formerly of Marsh McLennan, accused Mr. Spitzer and Slate of defamation.

Both men were acquitted of all but one of the charges they faced.

Marsh, however, which faced a raft of accusations, including fixing prices and rigging bids, settled the case for an $850 million fine.

In a column he wrote last summer, Mr. Spitzer used the case as an example of what he said was a financial system that still lacked sufficient government regulation. The column, titled “They Still Don’t Get It,” took issue with a Wall Street Journal editorial that picked apart Mr. Spitzer’s prosecutions of insurance giants like the American International Group.

In the column, Mr. Spitzer does not mention either Mr. Gilman or Mr. McNenney by name. But he does mention the $850 million settlement and makes a general reference to “criminal conduct” at the company.

Mr. Spitzer said Monday that he would be defended vigorously. “This lawsuit is entirely frivolous,” he added.

David Plotz, Slate’s editor, said, “This is a baseless lawsuit and we look forward to defending it.”

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