Court upholds HarperCollins case

Decision allows publication of criminal activity, Metcalf sez

The New York State Appellate Division on Tuesday affirmed the dismissal of a case against HarperCollins and Peter Maas, author of “Underboss.”

The case was brought by New York State attorney general Dennis C. Vacco and the State Crime Victims Board in 1997 in an effort to recover money that may have been paid to Gravano for his cooperation in the book.

Case with a history

A former member of the Gambino crime family, Gravano came to prominence when his testimony became a linchpin in the conviction of mobster John Gotti on federal racketeering charges. The 1998 decision by the New York Supreme Court to dismiss the case was affirmed by the five justices of the Appellate Division.

“This is a landmark decision,” said Slade R. Metcalf of Squadron, Ellenoff, Plesent & Sheinfeld LLP, who repped HarperCollins in the suit. “It makes clear that authors and publishers can publish accounts of criminal activity without fear of interference from the Crime Victims Board.”

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