Jury in BPI trial hears from former "ABC World News Tonight " an - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Jury in BPI trial hears from former "ABC World News Tonight " anchor Diane Sawyer


Jurors heard testimony from three witnesses in the $1.9 billion defamation suit Beef Products, Incorporated filed against ABC News and reporter Jim Avila.

Two offered per-recorded video depositions, including an ABC producer, and former World News Tonight anchor Diane Sawyer. 

The other gave their testimony in court. 

Tuesday's testimony covered a wide scope.

The witness that took up majority of the day was Janet Riley.

She's the Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for the North American Meat Institute. 

Riley's testimony included a number of emails she exchanged with ABC producer Brian Hartman. 

In those emails, Hartman asked Riley for statements regarding the nutritional value of LFTB, which Riley did.

Riley gave an on camera interview with ABC, which aired on March 9, and the same quote aired in a separate ABC report on March 15.

Riley stated she didn't understand why a product that had been in the market for two decades warranted this heavy of news coverage.

"I've been doing this job for 21 years and I just don't understand what conversations occurred at the network that justified this type of coverage. I've been through BSE, food borne illness outbreaks, etc. and I've never seen a network do six or seven nights in such a compressed time period."
Janet Riley, North American Meat Institute's Sr. VP of Public Affairs. 

"I was the anchor of the broadcast. I read into those reports. I read the scripts. I asked questions. I asked questions around the rim. I did not report the stories in the field as we know," Diane Sawyer, former ABC World News Tonight Anchor.

From the list the plaintiffs have provided, there are 24 witnesses remaining for the week of those include 23 by deposition and one live witness.

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