NHPR Defamation Case Dismissed


A defamation lawsuit filed by Eric Spofford against New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) has been dismissed by a Superior Court Judge. The lawsuit was based on allegations that NHPR relied on false statements and anonymous sources to tarnish Spofford’s reputation in an investigation involving allegations of sexual misconduct.

In his work at the Granite Recovery Center, Spofford was once the state’s leading name in drug rehabilitation. NHPR alleged that Spofford threatened and had sexual misconduct with two former female employees and one client. The investigation’s results were posted online and broadcast in a two-part series in March of 2022.

The judge ruled that the lawsuit lacked clear evidence of NHPR’s reliance on false statements and did not meet the legal standard of actual malice. Related cases against individuals identified as sources in the article were also dismissed. The ACLU of New Hampshire and media outlets argued in amicus briefs that the case could have a chilling effect on free speech. Spofford has 30 days to appeal the ruling.


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