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Judge Orders Dole To Pay Filmmaker $200K In Free Speech Case

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles judge has ordered Dole Food Company to pay nearly $200,000 in legal fees and costs to a Swedish filmmaker who battled the company in a free speech case involving release of his documentary.

Dole had sued Fredrik Gertten for showing the documentary "Bananas" despite a court ruling that the case on which the film was based had been part of a massive extortion plot against the company. But Superior Court Judge Ralph W. Dau found that Dole was trying to stifle Gertten's right to free speech.

Dole claimed the movie was defamatory and false in its depiction of Dole's treatment of banana workers and use of a banned pesticide.

The company dropped its lawsuit after the Swedish parliament denounced Dole's lawsuit as unwarranted interference with freedom of speech and threatened to hold hearings.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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