A Cleveland judge has declared a mistrial in a $2.75 million suit filed by a television cameraman against pop music singer Prince, citing a newspaper report of a $100,000 out-of-court settlement offer.
Common Pleas Judge Frank J. Gorman admonished The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer for revealing the rejected offer and said the story would prejudice the trial in the lawsuit by photographer James R. Gates.
When Prince's lawyer Terrence J. Kenneally asked Gorman to declare a mistrial Wednesday, Gates' lawyer, Jeffrey M. Embleton, said he would not object.
"I have no alternative but to declare a mistrial and dismiss the jury," said Gorman, who did not question the jurors about whether they had read the story.
The lawyers told the judge they had heard the settlement offer reported on radio stations Wednesday morning.
Gorman called the reporting of the offer "totally irresponsible." He said he would ask the Cleveland Bar Association to investigate and added that he was considering filing contempt of court charges against the paper.
Gorman called the newspaper Tuesday night and threatened to hold it in contempt of court if the offer was published, The Plain Dealer reported Thursday.