Missing man’s family appeals defamation award

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The family of a Waterbury man who has been missing for the past decade is going to the state Supreme Court to fight a nearly $53,000 defamation lawsuit judgment.

The New Haven Register reports  that relatives of William “Billy” Smolinski Jr. are appealing a ruling last month by the state Appellate Court. The court upheld a lower court ruling ordering the family to pay damages to Smolinski’s former girlfriend, Madeleine Gleason of Woodbridge.

Gleason sued Smolinski’s mother and sister in 2006 alleging they harassed her, defamed her and falsely accused her of involvement in Smolinski’s disappearance. Gleason and Smolinski broke up just before he disappeared in 2004.

No arrests have been made in the case.

Smolinski’s mother, Janice Smolinski, says her court appeal involves First Amendment and victims’ rights.

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