ABC News Settles Libel Lawsuit Involving Newport Beach Internet-Dating-Scam Broadcast
Chris Cuomo: Now at CNN, but his stint at ABC forced his old bosses to settle a libel lawsuit in California
After an Orange County Superior Court judge ruled earlier this year there was no merit in the attempt by ABC News to kill a libel lawsuit about a sensational, 2011 Internet-dating-scam broadcast by 20/20, the network has agreed to settle with the outraged plaintiff.
That news is according to court documents filed today and obtained by OC Weekly in the case in which a Colorado man sued the network, then-ABC host Chris Cuomo and Kelley Cahill, a California woman who alleged on the broadcast that she'd been victimized in a dating scam.
Lawyers for ABC and Cuomo strenuously argued they did not libel David Williams in the broadcast, but in March, Judge Franz E. Miller ruled the plaintiff's case had a legitimate argument and a jury should decide if he'd been unfairly smeared.
Miller ruled there was decent evidence the news network "negligently propelled an all-too-common, nasty romantic breakup into a national crime story."
Cuomo and ABC appealed Miller's determinations, but they decided to settle the case for undisclosed terms before a three-justice panel at the California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana could make a ruling.
WIlliams' case against Cahill, his bitter ex-girlfriend, remains active, according to court records.
ABC's show highlighted Internet con artists aiming to steal money but, in my view, wrongly included a misreported segment about Williams, who clearly did not engage in any criminal activity.
Contacted for comment, the plaintiff's veteran, Beverly Hills lawyer, Alexander Rufus-Isaacs, would only say, "[Williams] just settled the case with ABC."
No terms of the deal were revealed in court filings.
A notable television journalist, Cuomo--son of a former New York governor (Mario Cuomo) and brother to that state's current chief executive (Andrew Cuomo)--left ABC News shortly after the lawsuit was filed and now works as a host at CNN.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Orange County, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.