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 AJR  The Beat

From AJR,   November 1998  issue

Chiquita Woes   

Quilty plea by former Cincinnati Enquirer reporter.


By Lori Robertson
Lori Robertson (robertson.lori@gmail.com), a former AJR managing editor, is a senior contributing writer for the magazine.      

Former Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Michael Gallagher, coauthor of the paper's ill-fated series on Chiquita Brands International, pleads guilty to unlawful interception of wire transmission and unauthorized access to communication, both felonies. The Sep- tember 24 plea, which carries a sentence of up to 2 1/2 years in prison and a $7,500 fine, comes three months after the paper, asserting that Gallagher had illegally obtained Chiquita voice mail messages, renounced its 18-page exposť on Chiquita business practices. Gallagher, 40, will return to court March 19, a late sentencing date that, a Cincinnati Post story suggests, could mean prosecutors want Gallagher to finger others involved in the crimes. In mid-September, former Chiquita lawyer George Ventura pled innocent to similar charges. Enquirer Editor Lawrence K. Beaupre says the guilty plea is "a disappointing confirmation that Gallagher lied to his editors and to his readers."