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.