A Wake County jury has found a Raleigh newspaper guilty of libeling a State Bureau of Investigation agent, and awarded an initial $1.5 million to the agent.

It took about a day for the jury to decide the News and Observer of Raleigh libeled SBI agent Beth Desmond in an investigative series published in 2010.

According to the News and Observer, four sources who spoke to reporter Mandy Locke testified they were either misquoted or taken out of context. The jury agreed, and reached a unanimous verdict on Tuesday afternoon.

The punitive phase of the trial began Wednesday.

The newspaper says its coverage was accurate and plans to appeal the verdict.

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