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The New York Times, October 16, 1907

Ralph Ashcroft Says Hammond's Telegram to Mark Twain Libeled Him.

Mark Twain figures in a libel suit now pending before Justice Scudder in the Supreme Court, Brooklyn. The plaintiff is Ralph W. Ashcroft and the defendant John Hayes Hammond, the noted mining engineer. The amount sought is $25,000.

The plaintiff alleges that in 1904 he was manager and stockholder of the Plasmon Company, and that on Sept. 15 of that year the defendant maliciously sent a telegram to Samuel L. Clemens, who was also a stockholder, which contained the following alleged libelous words:

I strongly oppose turning over the company to Ashcroft's Board of Directors. He had been identified with the administration of Cook & Wright and is incompetent, or worse.

The defendant admits the authenticity of the telegram, but says it was a privileged communication between stockholders concerning the administration of the company's affairs. He further asserts that Ashcroft was in reality hardly more than a salaried employee of the concern and held only an insignificant amount of stock. A deposition of Mr. Clemens will be read to the jury today.

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