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Columbia Missourian

High court moves Blunt defamation suit back to Jackson County

By The Associated Press
July 3, 2008 | 10:12 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — The state Supreme Court ruled pretrial proceedings in a defamation lawsuit against Gov. Matt Blunt should be in Jackson County.

Former Blunt staff attorney Scott Eckersley sued Blunt and four staff members, claiming he was fired for suggesting the governor's office illegally destroyed e-mails. Eckersley claims he was defamed when Blunt's administration provided reporters with information defending the firing.

A Jackson County judge moved the wrongful firing claims to the Capitol's home of Cole County. He moved the defamation claim to Jackson, Cole and Ozark counties and St. Louis city because reporters read the packets there.

The state high court says the Jackson County court should handle discovery for the defamation claims and then decide the venue for any necessary trials.