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The state's highest judge apparently was not impressed with Buffalo Police Detective Timothy J. McDonald's complaints about the producers of one of national television celebrity Geraldo Rivera's now-canceled programs.

Court officials confirmed Wednesday that, in a terse, one-paragraph order, Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye had rejected McDonald's request that she and the rest of the Court of Appeals in Albany review an appellate court's dismissal of his multimillion-dollar defamation case against Rivera's producers.

McDonald's legal team had requested permission to appeal the ruling, issued last June, that released Tribune Entertainment Co. and Investigative News Group from the case.

The five-judge Appellate Division of State Supreme Court agreed with Buffalo media attorney Paul I. Perlman that no evidence indicated that either company had acted with actual malice, a key element of such a defamation case.

The Rochester-based court dismissed the case against the two television firms but unanimously kept Lorretta L. Renford, co-founder of Buffalo's police watchdog group Concerned Citizens Against Police Abuse, as a defendant.

In a 1996 episode of Rivera's talk show, Renford accused McDonald of professional misconduct in a 1994 drug arrest of her son.

Renford, one of the Buffalo Police Department's most vocal critics and a member of the city's new Commission on Citizens' Rights and Community Relations, said she finds it "absurd the case has gone on this long."

"I have no money to pay McDonald. He and his lawyers thought they were going to get money from Geraldo," she said.


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