Monday, August 1, 2011

UPDATE: Court Denies Breitbart Motion to Toss Sherrod Defamation Suit

WASHINGTON - APRIL 21:  Conservative activist ...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeU.S. District Court Judge for the District of Columbia Richard J. Leon last week issued orders denying motions to dismiss or alternatively, relocate Shirley Sherrod's defamation suit against Andrew Breitbart and Larry O'Connor, Legal Times reported.

Sherrod, the one-time U.S. Department of Agriculture director for rural development, in her complaint, Sherrod v. Breitbart et al. (Case No. 00015711), alleges she was defamed by conservative blogmeister Brietbart, his associate O'Connor and another whom she accused of "deceptively edit[ing]" a video clip of a speech she delivered in March 2010, that made her appear racist and discriminating against white farmers. (See "TUOL" post 4/20/11).

Though he did not issue a written opinion, Judge Leon denied the defendants' motion to relocate the suit to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California where they reside and work. Judge Leon also refused to dismiss the defamation suit based on the defendants' argument that it violated their First Amendment right to free speech. The defendants unsuccessfully invoked the anti-SLAPP law recently enacted by the District of Columbia on March 31[D.C. Law 18-0351] that allows for dismissal of a lawsuit and a stay of discovery in cases in which parties contend they are being sued over protected speech.

The parties argued the motions before Judge Leon on July 19, according to the Legal Times article.

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