Phoenix New Times Files Prelude to Lawsuit in Grand Jury Probe Fiasco

february 21, 2008  08:20 am
The paper yesterday filed a formal Notice of Claim against the officials responsible for the October blowup which ended with the paper's founders in jail. The notice, which is required by Arizona law to be filed before government officials can be sued, accuses the defendants of violating Michael Lacey's and Jim Larkin's constitutional rights, with malicious prosecution, racketeering and conspiracy. The paper is asking for $15 million in damages if the matter is settled before April 15. "If New Times is required to pursue litigation, the settlement demand will increase," the notice warns. "This is not a decision undertaken lightly," says Lacey. "But I feel like if we don't do something, it's an invitation for this kind of behavior to continue." The County Attorney's office, which is named in the claim, dismisses the legal maneuver as "frivolous," with a spokesman telling the Arizona Republic: "We are confident that it will be exposed as the bunk it is."