A New Hampshire jury Friday has awarded $274 million in damages to three prominent businessmen in Manchester.
It's said to be the largest figure in a defamation case in state history, according to longtime lawyer Steve Gordon, who represented the three plaintiffs in the case.
Although Gordon doesn’t expect to see that full payment, he says it's a big win for his clients.
“This was actually never a case about money," Gordon said. "By issuing an award that made in bright, clear and dramatic language by its amount that these statements were false and malicious they can begin the process of renewal.”
The case involved mortgage business owner Michael Gill. For years, Gill has displayed controversial billboards above his Manchester office attacking local politicians, lawyers and well-known figures of dealing drugs and even committing murder.
Last month Gill was court ordered to remove the messages.
The three plaintiffs in the case were owner of Auto Fair Andrew Crews, Manchester developer Dick Anagnost and Primary Bank founder William Greiner. Crews was granted $97 million, Anagnost $92 million and Greiner $85 million. This week their lawyer asked the jury to grant less than half that figure.
Gill said he'll be appealing the verdict. He's currently down in Washington, D.C. trying to get the federal government involved in the case.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a $100 million or a billion – all I can tell you is this: everything that I said is 100 percent true – everything," Gill said of his accusations that the three plaintiffs are criminals.
Read the full jury verdict: