Attorneys for the Chicago Tribune contend that the newspaper made an innocent editing mistake in a story about alleged misconduct by a former prosecutor. Thomas Knight, the former DuPage County prosecutor who claims he was defamed, characterized the error as intentional and more sinister in nature, the Tribune reports. More than six years after the article was published, Chicago jurors heard opening statements in the case yesterday. Knight, representing himself, accused the paper of “veritable witch hunt to get prosecutors.”
At issue are a few sentences from a 5,000-word story the Tribune published on Jan. 12, 1999, part of a five-part series headlined “Trial and Error: How Prosecutors Sacrifice Justice to Win.” The newspaper misstated the source of a statement to a grand jury in a criminal case against Knight and others. Those defendants were acquitted.