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SMOKING GUN – Marc Held, Partner, Held & Hines, LLP Quoted Re: Don Imus

Imus Sued Over Radio Spots

Advertiser claims host disparaged them…in their own commercials

JANUARY 24–A Tennessee company is suing Don Imus for $4 million after the radio host allegedly disparaged the firm last year while reading its commercials on his show. FlatSigned Press alleges that Imus made snide comments about the company as he read spots advertising its sale of copies of the Warren Commission report signed by President Gerald Ford, a member of the government panel that investigated the John F. Kennedy assassination. The January 2007 radio spots aired one month after Ford’s death. The timing of the ads, it seems, prompted Imus to remark that FlatSigned–which sells autographed and collectible books–were “bastards” who waited for Ford “to croak so they could unload these.” He then added, “Now that he’s flat-lined, you go to” [Click here to listen to one of Imus’s FlatSigned spots.] Imus repeated similar sentiments in other live commercials, remarking, “This has gotta be a joke.” FlatSigned paid about $5000 for the spots, which directed listeners to its web site, where the limited edition Ford volume (which sold for upwards of $900) could be ordered. In its January 23 New York State Supreme Court lawsuit, an excerpt of which you’ll find below, FlatSigned charges that it was damaged by Imus’s refusal to read its ad copy verbatim. In addition to Imus, the company is suing Infinity Broadcasting, for whom Imus worked until last April, when he was fired for making offensive comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team. (6 pages)

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