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O'Donnell, publisher file post-trial papers

Former talk show host seeks $8 million in legal bills

Lawyers for Rosie O’Donnell and for the publisher of her defunct magazine filed papers Wednesday asking the judge who heard their breach of contract trial to award varying sums of money.

State Supreme Court Justice Ira Gammerman, who heard the two-week trial last month, said following the court fight over Rosie magazine that he was unlikely to award either side any money. He called publisher Gruner+Jahr’s lawsuit against O’Donnell “ill-conceived.”

G+J is asking the judge for $27 million. The publisher says it wants to recoup the $15 million that was the value of McCall’s magazine — the publication Rosie was meant to replace — when the joint venture ended, and $12 million it advanced the magazine as operating expenses.

In her filing, O’Donnell said G+J should “recover nothing” and that she ought to receive unspecified general and punitive damages. Her papers also ask for appointment of a special referee to determine how much G+J should pay her for legal fees. Last month, O’Donnell said she would seek $8 million for her legal bills.

Rosie, reminiscent of Oprah Winfrey’s successful publication, O, debuted amid much optimism two years ago, while O’Donnell was still hosting her daily television talk show.

A bitter battle for editorial control began in late summer 2002 as sales declined. The magazine published its last edition in December 2002.

O’Donnell and G+J sued each other for more than $100 million following Rosie’s demise, each claiming that the other had violated their joint venture contract.