Jury: Time didn’t libel Kato Kaelin’s ex-girlfriend

Tuesday, March 24, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Time magazine didn’t libel Brian “Kato” Kaelin’s former girlfriend when it reported that her testimony at O.J. Simpson’s preliminary hearing contradicted a version she told two friends, a jury decided.


The magazine said in 1996 that two of Rachel Ferrara’s friends–Teri Fiddleman and Danielle Nicolet–told police she and Kaelin didn’t tell the whole truth at the hearing.


The jury, siding with Time, decided that three disputed statements were factual and a fourth was not libelous even though it contained errors about what Kaelin testified that he saw. The errors were part of a “fair and true report” of judicial proceedings and statements made to law enforcement officials, Time attorney Bob Vanderet said.


Ferrara was talking on the phone with Kaelin–Simpson’s house guest at the time–when he heard three thumps outside his room.


According to the friends’ accounts in Time, Ferrara said Kaelin encountered Simpson outside the guest house immediately after hearing the thumps. Both Ferrara and Kaelin testified that he encountered Simpson 10 to 15 minutes after he heard the noises.


Ferrara’s lawsuit, which sought $2 million in damages, claimed that Time incorrectly summarized her testimony, falsely reported that her account contradicted the version she told her friends and implied that she committed perjury.


Simpson was acquitted of criminal charges in the 1994 death of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. A civil jury later found him responsible for the deaths, levying $33.5 million in damages.