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British Formula One King Wins Privacy Ruling

Plans to sue for libel next
British Formula One King Wins Privacy Ruling
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Jul 29, 2008 8:00 AM PDT    Text size: 
LONDON — A Formula One racing official has won 60,000 pounds in a privacy case against a U.K. newspaper that broke a story about the official being involved in a widely publicized "Nazi" sex tape.

On the heels of his legal victory, Formula One Racing's Max Mosley plans to sue the News of the World for libel, as well.

A British justice ruled that the News of the World newspaper violated Mosley's privacy and that the conduct seen on the tape was between consenting adults.

The justice also ruled that there was no evidence that the action seen on the tape was intended to be an enactment of Nazi behavior as had been reported at the time.

"No amount of damages can fully compensate the claimant for the damage done,'' Justice David Eady said. "He is hardly exaggerating when he says that his life was ruined.''

The court also awarded Mosley 450,000 pounds to cover his legal costs.

According to News of the World, the sex tape shows the then-67-year-old Mosley entering a prison, where a busty blond guard inspects his head for lice before whipping his rear end and saying, "He's serving a life sentence now for crimes he committed before."

One of the women in the tape wears a German air force, or Luftwaffe, uniform. In court, the unidentified woman said that it was an insult for the News of the World to have equated "German" with "Nazi."

Later, Mosley has sex with the women, followed by tea. The tape cost Mosley about $5,000 to produce.

As for the possible chilling effect this ruling might have on journalists in England, Jennifer McDermott of Withers Law Firm in London said that it wasn't likely.

"Real matters of public interest will continue to be published,'' she said "In this case there was no general interest at all once the Nazi orgy theme wasn't made out.''

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