After 23 years of litigation, the Philadelphia Inquirer in early April settled a libel suit filed by Richard Sprague, a former assistant district attorney in Philadelphia, for an undisclosed amount.
Sprague, Philadelphia’s former top homicide prosecutor, originally sued the Inquirer in April 1973 after the newspaper questioned whether he had halted a 1963 murder investigation as a favor to a friend. In a retrial of the case in 1988, the jury awarded Sprague $34 million in damages, which was later reduced on appeal.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court refused to review the case in mid- January. The Inquirer had until April 8 to appeal the $24 million verdict to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Sprague currently represents John du Pont, the Delaware multi- millionaire accused of murdering Olympic wrestler David Schultz. (Sprague v. Walter; Media Counsel: Katherine Hatton, Philadelphia)