Libel suit filed against NY Post for marathon bombing story

The New York Post cover on Thursday, April 18, 2013.
This New York Post cover story on April 18 pictured two people who were questioned but not charged in the Boston Marathon bombings.

A Massachusetts man and a teenager have filed a lawsuit against the New York Post for running photos and articles that falsely alleged them to be suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings.

Three days after the attacks, the Post printed the front-page headline “BAG MEN: Feds seek this duo pictured at Boston Marathon” along with a photo of 16-year-old Salaheddin Barhoum and 24-year-old Yassine Zaimi.

The Post said it had obtained an email that read, “The attached photos are being circulated in an attempt to identify the individuals highlighted therein. Feel free to pass this around to any of your fellow agents elsewhere.”

In fact, Barhoum and Zaimi had been cleared by investigators after volunteering to be questioned.

The same day that the story ran, the FBI released pictures of Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who are believed to have carried out the April 15 bombings that killed three people and wounded 264 more.

The Department of Justice had already sent out a statement saying, “Any images not released via FBI official channels should not be considered credible.”

Despite that, Post editor Col Allan refused to apologize.

“We stand by our story,” he said. “The image was emailed to law enforcement agencies yesterday afternoon seeking information about these men, as our story reported. We did not identify them as suspects.”

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Boston’s Suffolk Superior Court, accused the Post of libel; defamation; negligent, intentional and/or reckless infliction of emotional distress; and invasion of privacy. The plaintiffs were seeking unspecified monetary damages.

The Post wouldn’t comment on the suit when contacted by the Associated Press.

Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBos


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