Massachusetts residents sue NY Post over marathon coverage

FILE - In this April 18, 2013 file photo, Salah Eddin Barhoum sits in his apartment in Revere, Mass., with one of the trophies he won in an athletic competition, and the bag he was carrying on Monday near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Barhoum, one of two men whose photograph appeared threeon the front page of the New York Post in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings, filed a libel lawsuit against the Post Wednesday, June 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Rodrique Ngowi, File)

June 6, 2013 12:10:56 PM PDT
Two Massachusetts residents have sued the New York Post, saying the newspaper falsely portrayed them as suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Boston says photographs and articles published three days after the bombings made it appear the FBI was pursuing 16-year-old Salaheddin Barhoum and 24-year-old Yassine Zaimi.

The two were featured on the front page under the headline "Bag Men," before law enforcement officials publicly identified two brothers as suspects.

The lawsuit accuses the newspaper of libel, negligent infliction of emotional distress and privacy invasion. It seeks unspecified monetary damages and alleges the Post subjected them to "scorn, hatred, ridicule, or contempt."

A spokeswoman for the Post on Thursday referred questions about the lawsuit to comments made by the newspaper's editor in April, when he said the publication didn't identify Barhoum and Zaimi as suspects and that it stood by the story.

The plaintiffs say they saw photos of themselves circulating on the Internet in connection with the bombing and both voluntarily went to police departments near their homes to answer any questions from authorities.

Investigators told them early in the morning on April 18 that they weren't considered suspects, according to the lawsuit. That day, the Post hit the streets with them on the cover.

The lawsuit says that Barhoum didn't know about the story until arriving home from a high school track meet later that day, when a reporter showed him the newspaper's front page and he "became terrified, began to shake and sweat, and felt dizzy and nauseous."

The suit claims strangers began to recognize Barhoum and Zaimi because of the Post story.

Barhoum previously told The Associated Press that he is convinced some people will always blame him for the bombings.