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Brawley Case Damage Award Put at $345,000

July 30, 1998| From Associated Press

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — The Rev. Al Sharpton and two other advisors to Tawana Brawley were ordered Wednesday to pay $345,000 for defaming a white former prosecutor who they claimed raped the black teenager in 1987.

The jury award to Steven Pagones ended an often-bitter eight-month trial centering on accusations by Sharpton, Alton H. Maddox and C. Vernon Mason. Pagones sued the men for claiming he was among a group of white men who abducted and raped Brawley in November 1987.

In 1988, a grand jury found substantial evidence that her story was a hoax and suggested that Brawley concocted the tale to avoid punishment for staying out late.

The grand jury exonerated Pagones.

Sharpton was held liable for $65,000, Maddox for $95,000 and Mason for $185,000.

Maddox called the damages "a slap on the wrist."

Sharpton's lawyer said the decision would not stop his client from speaking about controversial cases.

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