- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 15, 2017

YANKTON, S.D. (AP) - A South Dakota judge has dismissed ABC anchor Diane Sawyer from a defamation lawsuit over the network’s reports on a beef product that critics dubbed “pink slime.”

First Judicial Circuit Court Judge Cheryle Gering granted Sawyer’s motions for summary judgment last month, dismissing her from the case also against ABC and correspondent Jim Avila. A trial is scheduled to start in June.

ABC says it’s pleased the court dismissed claims against Sawyer and looks forward to defending the reports at trial.

Beef Products Inc., based in Dakota Dunes, sued in 2012, and says ABC’s multiple reports misled consumers into believing its lean, finely textured beef product was unsafe and led to plant closures and layoffs.

An attorney for the plaintiffs didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

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