Mohawk chiefs file $60 million libel suit against NY Post

New York, New York (AP) 2-08

Three chiefs of the St. Regis Mohawks have filed a $60 million defamation lawsuit against the New York Post over editorials blasting the tribe as a criminal enterprise.

The tribe in upstate New York came under fire from the feisty tabloid over its proposal to build a $600 million casino in Monticello, 90 miles northwest of New York City in the Catskills.

The editorials, published during February, 2007, and January of this year, accuse the chiefs of “serious crimes” and “expose them to public contempt, ridicule, aversion and disgrace.”

The first editorial says the tribe was involved in a $687 million liquor, cigarette and gun smuggling ring, imported illegal immigrants from China and engaged in shoot-outs with police. The January editorial said the tribe “amounts to a criminal enterprise.”

Suzanne Halpin, a Post spokeswoman, said she had no comment on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan’s state Supreme Court. It asks for $20 million in damages for each of the three chiefs, none of whom was mentioned in the editorials by name.