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Judge Martin alleged the offending article accused him of hearing a case involving an attorney who previously had represented him in an action before New York's Commission on Judicial Conduct, a purported conflict of interest. Judge Shulman held that Judge Martin, in his capacity as a public official, failed to satisfy the elevated actual malice burden of proof to sustain his defamation claim.
"[B]ecause defendants' statements about Martin related solely to his role as a public official, the burden rests with (Martin) to demonstrate not only that the statements are false, but with clear and convincing evidence that defendants acted with actual malice in publishing the falsehoods," Judge Shulman wrote in his opinion.
Tip of the hat to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (www.rcfp.org) for its coverage of the case.