Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John L Smith has resigned from the newspaper in protest at a ban on writing about its new owner, Sheldon Adelson. Until this week, Smith, who Adelson once attempted to sue for defamation, wrote a popular column in the Review-Journal on issues facing Las Vegas, from human interest stories to politics.
Adelson sued Smith in 2005 over his book Sharks in the Desert. The lawsuit stated that “Smith deceptively manipulates language, quotations, and sources in order to concoct the smear that Adelson had dealings with the Boston Mob when Adelson was in the vending machine business.”
The litigation came at a time when Smith’s daughter was suffering from brain cancer and it forced the writer into bankruptcy. The case was eventually dismissed with prejudice by a US Bankruptcy Court.
Smith’s resignation this week came days after the Review-Journal’s new editor, Keith Moyer, made the ban public knowledge in an interview with the Society of Professional Journalists over the weekend.
“As long as I’m editor, John won’t write about Sheldon Adelson,” said Moyer, who claimed a conflict of interest in light of the past litigation. According to Vegas journalist and broadcaster Jon Ralston, the ban also extends to commentary about Adelson’s pal, Steve Wynn, a man who also sued Smith over a book that alleged mob ties.
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