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Wednesday, December 8, 1999



Star-Bulletin closing after 117 years

Motion to
dismiss newspaper
lawsuit delayed

An attorney critical to the
Star-Bulletin case apparently
won't be available Monday

By Debra Barayuga
Star-Bulletin

Tapa

A motion by owners of Honolulu's two daily newspapers to dismiss the state's lawsuit barring the closure of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin has been postponed until next year.

Gannett, owner of the Honolulu Advertiser, asked to postpone the hearing before U.S. District Judge Alan C. Kay from Dec. 13 to Feb. 7, Deputy Attorney General Rodney Kimura confirmed yesterday.

A separate motion by the newspapers to dismiss a similar lawsuit filed by a private citizens group, Save Our Star-Bulletin, is also set for Feb. 7.

An attorney critical to the case apparently won't be available Monday, Kimura said.

Gannett and Liberty attorneys could not be reached for comment.

The state did not object to the continuance as long as Gannett and Liberty Newspapers, owner of the Star-Bulletin, do not use the delay to interfere with discovery, Kimura said. The state is poised to go to trial Sept. 19 for a permanent injunction against the shutdown.

In agreeing to the continuance, the state requested that Gannett file its response to the state's opposition to the dismissal by Dec. 21.

On Oct. 13, Kay issued a preliminary injunction, essentially barring the newspapers from carrying out the shutdown agreement and taking any action that would negatively affect the Star-Bulletin's advertisers, subscribers and standing in the community.

The state and Save Our Star-Bulletin filed suit Oct. 6 after Liberty and Gannett announced Sept. 16 that the Star-Bulletin was to officially close at the end of October.

The state contends that the shutdown in exchange for a payment violates state and federal antitrust laws and amounts to a conspiracy to monopolize general circulation newspapers on Oahu. Gannett and Liberty argue that Kay's ruling violates their constitutional rights by forcing the Star-Bulletin to publish when its owner doesn't want to.

The agreement between Gannett and Liberty to shut down the Star-Bulletin will expire Dec. 23 unless they agree to extend it.



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