by Mark Shanahan
Three years after Brad Delp, the lead singer of the band Boston, committed suicide, his former bandmate is suing the Boston Herald for libel.
In a lawsuit filed March 10 in Suffolk County Superior Court, guitarist Tom Scholz claims Herald reporters Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa defamed him by writing that Delp’s ex-wife, Micki, blamed Scholz for the singer’s death.
According to the suit, Fee and Raposa, who write the tabloid’s Inside Track column, attributed statements to Micki Delp that were "false and fabricated." Scholz is being represented by attorney Howard Cooper, who successfully sued the Herald for libel in 2005.
"We have filed this complaint in an effort to correct the very substantial defamation by the Boston Herald and its reporters of Tom Scholz at the time when his former Boston bandmate took his own life," Cooper told the Globe today. "It is unfortunate that some chose that tragic occasion to sensationalize a false story about Mr. Scholz."
Herald publisher Patrick Purcell did not return a phone call today, but Gwen Gage, the paper’s spokeswoman, did.
"We’re aware of the complaint and we will review it," she said. "Beyond that, we have no further comment." (Neither Fee nor Raposa responded to messages today, and Herald lawyer Elizabeth Ritvo did not return a phone call or e-mail.)
At issue are stories that appeared in the Herald in the days after Delp’s body was discovered in the bathroom of his home in Atkinson, N.H. On March 16, 2007, under the headline "Pal’s snub made Delp do it: Boston rocker’s ex-wife speaks," the Herald reported that Delp was "driven to despair" by Scholz and the band’s "ugly breakup," and attributed the comments to Micki Delp.
Scholz subsequently sued Micki Delp, and, under oath, she denied ever making the statements. (That case is still pending.)
The lawsuit against the Herald claims Fee and Raposa knew the statements were false, "but they nevertheless fit the defendants’ predetermined agenda to sensationalize a story about Mr. Delp’s suicide in an effort to sell newspapers and to portray Mr. Scholz as an insensitive, heartless, and oppressive person."
Scholz’s attorney is well-known to the Herald. Five years ago, Cooper won a $2 million judgment (which, plus interest, amounted to $3.4 million) against the tabloid after a jury determined the Herald libeled Superior Court Judge Ernest Murphy by portraying the jurist as lenient on crime and writing that unnamed sources overheard the judge saying of a 14-year-old rape victim, "Tell her to get over it."
by Mark Shanahan