Lawsuit Over Anti-Kerry Film

A longtime chronicler of John Kerry (search) sued Sinclair Broadcast Group (search) Inc. on Thursday to stop it from using his pictures and film in its program that features parts of an anti-Kerry documentary.

Filmmaker George Butler's (search) lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, says the program scheduled for Friday violates his copyrights of material covering much of the Democratic presidential candidate's adult life. Butler seeks unspecified damages.

Messages left for comment with lawyers for Sinclair, based in Hunt Valley, Md., were not immediately returned.

Butler has taken thousands of pictures of Kerry since 1969. He also created a documentary, "Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry," in which many of Kerry's Vietnam War comrades praise his leadership and valor.

The Kerry campaign announced Thursday it will not participate in the Sinclair program even though the company decided against airing the entire anti-Kerry documentary "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal."

That film consists mostly of interviews with U.S. prisoners of war who survived imprisonment and torture in Hanoi, and emerged enraged at Kerry for helping lead the anti-war movement after he completed his Vietnam service.

Sinclair, whose executives are Republican contributors, originally said the program would air in prime time on all of its 62 stations, many in swing states, prompting protests from critics and shareholders. On Tuesday, the company announced the program would appear on 40 stations and would feature parts, but not all, of "Stolen Honor."

Kerry spokesman Chad Clanton said Sinclair's announcement was "a panicked attempt to appear fair and reasonable."

Sinclair has said its program, "A POW Story: Politics, Pressure and the Media," will examine the use of documentaries to influence elections.