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USS Iowa book defamation suit settled

USS Iowa book defamation suit settled

CHARLESTON, S,C. (AP) – A lawsuit challenging a book’s account of the 1989 turret explosion that killed 47 sailors aboard the USS Iowa was settled out of court though neither side would discuss the details.

The agreement ends a six-year legal fight over the book ‘A Glimpse of Hell: The Explosion on the USS Iowa and Its Cover-Up.’ Several of the ship’s former officers sued, claiming the account defamed them and was filled with factual errors.

Both sides refused to discuss the settlement terms reached Monday. The book’s publisher, W.W. Norton & Co., issued a letter to the ship’s former officers.

‘To the extent you believe the book implies that any of you were engaged in a cover-up, were incompetent, committed criminal acts, violated Naval regulations or exhibited faulty seamanship or professional ineptitude, Norton regrets the emotional distress experienced by you or your family,’ Norton President W. Drake McFeely said in the letter.

The 1999 book by Charles C. Thompson II, a former producer for CBS’ ’60 Minutes,’ contends the ship was an ‘accident looking for a place to happen.’
The turret explosion occurred during a live firing drill in the Caribbean. The cause has never been determined.

Stephen F. DeAntonio, an attorney representing the ship’s officers, said they ‘feel totally vindicated.’

‘Throughout all the investigations and media coverage of the explosion, no mainstream media came close to reporting the defamatory allegations contained in the book,’ he said.

The case was pursued in Charleston because DeAntonio practices locally and successfully argued to have the lawsuit heard in South Carolina.

The Navy initially said that one of the dead sailors intentionally set a charge to explode in the turret because he was upset over a failed homosexual relationship with another sailor.

Four-star Adm. Frank Kelso later retracted the story and apologized to the sailor’s family.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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