The Press: Assassins at the Bar

When New York Mirror Editor Jack Lait and his Nightclub Columnist Lee Mortimer brought out their untidy, slapdash book, U.S.A. Confidential, they quickly became targets of half a dozen libel suits (TIME, May 19, 1952), based on the character assassination that helped make the book a bestseller. Biggest and most important was brought by Dallas' Neiman-Marcus store, which sued for $7,400,000 because Lait and Mortimer had written: "Some Neiman models are call girls . . . and the Dallas fairy colony is composed of many Neiman dress and millinery designers." Crown Publishers Inc., which published U.S.A. Confidential, promptly decided that it...

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