ABC anchor Diane Sawyer, correspondent Jim Avila and the network are asking a South Dakota judge to dismiss a $1.2 billion defamation lawsuit over the network's reports on a meat producer's lean, finely textured beef product, which critics dubbed "pink slime."
Court documents filed this week provide detailed accounts from Sawyer, Avila and others about how they gathered the information for the reports on Beef Products Inc. The journalists also say the work was done in the public's interest.
BPI sued in 2012, and says ABC's multiple reports misled consumers into believing that the product was unsafe and led to the closure of three plants and roughly 700 layoffs.
The case is currently slated to go to trial in June. BPI could be awarded as much as $1.2 billion.