Did you know our 26th POTUS sued a newspaper in Michigan?

Here is something that you may not know about the history of Michigan. Back in 1913, the 26th President of the United States decided to sue the publisher of a newspaper in the Upper Peninsula for libel. At the end of the case, he ended up winning and walked away with six cents.

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Who was the publisher and what was the paper that the former president sued?

When the case started in 1913, former President Roosevelt sued George A Newett. At the time, Newett was the publisher of the Iron Ore newspaper in Ishpeming. The Iron Ore newspaper has a circulation of about 3,000 people and reflected the views

Why did Teddy Roosevelt sue the publisher?

In a nutshell, Roosevelt sued the publisher for libel because he called him a drunk. The hit piece was an attack on Roosevelt and included the following:

Roosevelt lies and curses in a most disgusting way; he gets drunk, too, and that not infrequently, and all his intimates know about it. All who oppose him are wreckers of the country, liars, knaves, and undesirables. He alone is pure and entitled to a halo...Iron Ore 

What was the result of the trial; Roosevelt vs. Newett?

During the trial, Roosevelt had several men come to his defense and vouch for him saying that he was not a drunk. The only witness for Newett was a journalist that had sworn that he had seen Roosevelt drunk. That same witness also had to flee the country due to grand larceny charges before the trial.

In the end, Newett had to retract his statement about Roosevelt. After his victory, Teddy Roosevelt waived his claim for damages and instead asked the jury for only nominal damages. They accepted and he was awarded six cents.

Source: Theodore Roosevelt Center and Michbar.org

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