Author Ann Rule sues Seattle Weekly for defamation

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SEATTLE (AP) — True-crime author Ann Rule is suing a weekly Seattle newspaper, claiming she was defamed by a 2011 article written by the fiance of a convicted killer.

The lawsuit, filed in King County Superior Court, says freelance writer Rick Swart’s story in the Seattle Weekly hurt Rule’s reputation and book sales.

Swart was engaged at the time to Liysa Northon, an Oregon woman who served 12 years in prison after killing her husband.

His article was favorable to Northon, who said the killing was in self-defense. But Rule’s 2003 book about the case painted Northon as a liar who tried to make it appear she was a battered spouse.

Seattle Weekly editors didn’t know Swart and Northon were engaged when they published the story. The paper later issued an editor’s note detailing that omission, as well as numerous errors in the piece.

Its editor didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment Tuesday.

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