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McDermott makes first payment to Boehner

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  1. Libel and Privacy
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) paid over $64,000 in damages to Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) in the first installment of what…

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) paid over $64,000 in damages to Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) in the first installment of what the GOP congressman said amounted to nearly $850,000 in legal fees.

In December, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a federal appeals court ruling, which held that McDermott, who lawfully obtained an illegally recorded audiotape and gave it to the press, violated state and federal wiretapping laws.

The final amount McDermott owes in the case is still in dispute and is the subject of a separate lawsuit making its way through federal court.

The Reporters Committee, along with various news organizations, have followed the case since its inception, and signed onto a 1999 amicus brief in support of McDermott, arguing that the disclosure clearly was protected speech because disseminating the tape was a political act intended to convey information on a matter of public interest.