A Lexington, MA, police officer has won a defamation judgment worth more than $500,000 against two men a jury found tarnished his reputation by using a television news report to fight a $40 fine one falsely claimed was retaliation for catching the cop on camera using his cellphone while working a detail. The Lexington Police Department says the call was official business.
“This verdict vindicates a good police officer who can now hold his head high. They should be ashamed of themselves,” said Lenny Kesten, patrolman John Frissore’s attorney.
A Middlesex Superior Court jury Monday found Curtis W. Schondelmeyer made false and defamatory statements about Frissore when he appeared on a 2014 Fox Undercover Investigates report aired on WFXT-Channel 25 titled “Police Payback?”
The jury also found Scott Russian knowingly made false and defamatory statements about Frissore as a result of an affidavit Fox 25 broadcast in which Russian asserted he was driving the couple’s Range Rover when Schondelmeyer photographed Frissore, the Boston Herald reports.
The jury awarded Frissore $500,000 — $400,000 for Schondelmeyer and $100,000 for Russian. But with 12 percent annual interest dating back five years to when Frissore filed the lawsuit, Kesten’s co-counsel Michael Stefanilo Jr. said the actual amount due will exceed $700,000.