In this morning’s Star Tribune, reporter Dan Browning got some great, salty quotes from Pat Kiley, a former associate of convicted Ponzi schemer Trevor Cook. The former Christian broadcaster just fired his criminal defense attorney, and may have more to say about the $160 million fraud. As Kiley told Browning, “I’ve got so much stuff you wouldn’t believe. … All I can say is, as I said on the radio, stay tuned.”
This might be nothing more than good courts reporting save for one fact: Cook sued Browning last month for defamation. He’s seeking $4 million from Browning, plus another $13 million from the Star Tribune, the Pioneer Press, a Strib intern and PiPress reporter Frederick Melo.
I’m not sure if giving more information to a reporter you claim published “malicious, reckless and defamatory false statements” reflects Kiley’s fecklessness or Browning’s interviewing skill.
Kiley filed the July suit on his own, without a lawyer. As goofy as that legal action probably is, today’s Strib didn’t mention that Kiley considers the paper and Browning adverse parties. For disclosure’s sake, there should have been a quick reference (though to its credit, the paper reported the suit last month).
Then again, there’s no reason Browning shouldn’t have written the piece — you don’t want to let a subject sue a reporter off a story, especially a story like this one.