MIAMI — A federal court jury denied Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt Jr. $1 million in damages Wednesday, deciding that he had not been libeled in an article by an ex-CIA agent suggesting that Hunt was part of a conspiracy to assassinate President John F. Kennedy.
In a trial four years ago, Hunt was awarded $650,000 in damages. That verdict was overturned because of a flawed instruction to the jury.
This time, a six-member jury found in favor of Liberty Lobby, a right-wing Washington group that publishes The Spotlight tabloid, in which the article appeared in 1978.
One juror, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the panel felt that no evidence had been presented showing malice toward Hunt by the publication. The judge had instructed the jury before it began deliberating Tuesday that evidence of malice was necessary to find for Hunt.
Hunt displayed little emotion as the verdict was read and refused to comment. His lawyer, William Snyder of Baltimore, said that the two would confer about a possible appeal.
Attorney Mark Lane, a long-time critic of the Warren Commission findings and other investigations of the assassination, defended Liberty Lobby.
Hunt spent 33 months in prison for the Watergate burglary.