- Associated Press - Friday, September 29, 2017

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The Latest on a jury awarding $274.5 million in a New Hampshire defamation case (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

Lawyers for three businessmen who won a $274.5 million verdict in a New Hampshire defamation case believe it’s the largest in state history.

A jury on Friday found Michael Gill, a mortgage company owner, liable for the amount after he used electronic billboards to accuse the men of crimes and they sued.

In 2013, a jury found that Exxon Mobil must pay the state $236 million to help clean groundwater contaminated with a gasoline additive known as MTBE.

Steven Gordon, a lawyer who represents the businessmen, said the size of the verdict will “forever be the answer to Gill’s false statements.”

He had asked the jury to award a total of $114 million.

Gill said he would appeal.

___

1:10 p.m.

A jury has awarded over $274 million in damages to a car dealer, a banker and a developer after finding the three were targeted in electronic billboards in New Hampshire alleging they were involved in criminal activity.

Last year, the three, who donated money to the development of a nonprofit drug and alcohol recovery treatment center, sued Michael Gill, who owns a mortgage company. The suit said the billboards from his company featured the men’s pictures saying they sold drugs, killed children and laundered money. One could be seen near the company’s building off a highway in a busy area of Manchester.

The jury returned its verdict Friday.

Gill, who represented himself, left during jury selection Monday, saying he had little time to review the lawsuit. A phone message was left at his business seeking comment Friday.

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