Tag: Defamation

How (Not) to Respond to a Celebrated Trial Verdict

 

Call me an outlier, but I’m not one of those cheering or condemning the verdict from the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.

That’s because judicial trials, especially jury trials, are not political campaigns. Or, they shouldn’t be. We should only cheer for justice based on the preponderance of evidence courtesy of a jury of peers fairly selected and a trial well-administered by a seasoned judge.

Rep. Devin Nunes Sues Fusion GPS

 

Finally, someone is fighting back against the Trump-Russia hoax. I’m not surprised that the person who’s made this decision is Rep. Devin Nunes. You can review the complaint here. Nunes is suing, “alleging conspiracy to obstruct investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.”

He discovered the funders of the Steele dossier through his own efforts; many organizations had a hand in this effort. According to the Daily Caller,

The Campaign for Accountability filed complaint against Nunes with the Office of Congressional Ethics. In a Jan. 25, 2018 complaint, CfA accused Nunes of leaking sensitive House Intelligence Committee information about Fusion GPS.

Nick Sandmann Lawsuit against WAPO for $250 Million and Clarence Thomas’ Solo Opinion

 

Two stories have intersected making for intriguing discussions about the First Amendment as well as the laws against defamation.

The first story is the defamation lawsuit of Nick Sandmann against the Washington Post for $250 million. WaPo’s coverage of the confrontation between Sandman and a Native American man exploded into a national story and was fed by the inflammatory and reckless coverage by WaPo and other media outlets. Sandmann’s lawyer, Lin Wood, said, “Nick Sandmann was perceived as an easy target. He is 16. Inexcusable on every level.”

I suspect that the attorney will also include information on the threats, intimidation, and harassment that Sandmann went through, which included his family leaving their home for security reasons, explaining how the extreme coverage endangered all those involved. The lawsuit claims that. . .

Richard Epstein weighs the dangers of a Donald Trump presidency against those that would attend a Hillary Clinton Administration.

The Mess That Rolling Stone Left Behind

 

By now, everyone knows the basics of “A Rape On Campus,” the Rolling Stone report (no longer on the Rolling Stone website) in which journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely tracked down a woman named “Jackie” who provided her with lurid details of a gang rape that supposedly took place at the University of Virginia’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house. The story’s gory details made the frat and its members look like brutal rapists and total scoundrels. The problem is that the story was false and duly retracted with abject apologies from Rolling Stone yesterday after an independent report by Columbia Journalism School Dean Steve Coll and his team found that the editorial processes had failed at every level to heed the warning signs that something was deeply wrong with the story. There is no need to repeat those well-documented failings here, but suffice to say that the protagonist bobbed and weaved at every critical moment. Notwithstanding all those red flags, Rolling Stone decided to publish her story without verifying its key facts, creating havoc for the fraternity and the university. The question Peter Robinson asks is does the “fraternity have any legal recourse against either Rolling Stone or the university?”

There is a lot packed into this question. The first question is if anyone wants to sue, even if they can make out the legal case. The general rule is that the long and torturous road to success in a defamation case is not worth the cost. The proceedings are brutal on witnesses. They cost a fortune to litigate. And worst of all, they bring the entire matter once again into the public eye, where the new round of publicity is bad for the fraternity and the university no matter what the outcome of the case.