Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla is considering two moves that could end a defamation of character suit filed against the owner of the Alton Telegraph and one of its reporters.

Hylla heard arguments July 8 from plaintiff Charles Bonnell and defendants Freedom Communications, Inc. and reporter Linda Weller.

Bonnell seeks summary judgment in the case.

Freedom Communications and Weller have asked Hylla to dismiss the suit.

Bonnell is seeking damages in excess of $1.1 million in damages and other relief.

He alleges that Weller and the Telegraph defamed him by implying he was guilty of arson in a 2008 article Weller wrote about a fire in Alton.

Bonnell contends he was wrongly named as the owner of the burned building and that his reputation was damaged by the article.

The defendants deny the claims.

They contend that Weller quoted reliable sources and that what she wrote is protected.

According to Hylla's July 8 order, the judge has taken the moves under advisement.

Bernard Ysursa represents Bonnell.

Thomas Stewart represents the defendants.

The case is Madison case number 09-L-751.

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