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In response to the $165 million libel lawsuit filed against it by a Gore fund-raiser and crony, WorldNetDaily has established a legal fund to help pay for the independent news organization’s defense.

Clark Jones, a Tennessee Democratic Party activist who raised over $100,000 for Gore during the Election 2000 season, has sued WorldNetDaily.com, along with reporters Charles C. Thompson II and Tony Hays, and other defendants for WND’s 18-part investigative series on political corruption in Tennessee — a series some believe resulted in Gore losing his home state and, thus, the Electoral College vote and the presidential election.

“In a very tangible and real way,” said WND Editor and CEO Joseph Farah, “the WorldNetDaily ‘Tennessee Underworld’ reports impacted the presidential election. There is no doubt in my mind.”

Regarding the lawsuit, Farah added: “That’s a big suit. But I guess the stakes are high when you are a political activist and high-profile public figure in the state so closely tied to a losing presidential candidate. There’s got to be a payoff somewhere. So, Clark Jones, a prominent car dealer, staked his claim to WorldNetDaily.”

Is Farah afraid of this action? “Not at all,” he said. “Personally, I’m a veteran of many First Amendment cases. I’ve been an expert witness on journalistic standards and practices for more than 15 years. I kind of enjoy the courtroom grillings. And I know this case has no merit.

“However, no lawsuit — especially one for $165 million — can ever be taken lightly. After all, we live in the age of O.J. Simpson. Juries can be quirky. Sometimes courts don’t actually find justice. A spirited defense against this action is essential. And spirited defenses of high-profile lawsuits filed by wealthy, politically connected activists take time and money.”

WND will stand by its stories, added Farah, which “we believe are 100 percent accurate.”

Stating that “We will stand for truth, we will stand for principle,” Farah asks WND’s readers: “Will you stand with us?”

Readers may review the series for themselves by reading the epilogue story which provides hotlinks to all 18 parts.

“See if you agree with me that this was a great journalistic effort, worthy of the highest awards, not a lawsuit,” said Farah. “Then, please support us financially as we wage battle in the courts to secure our reputation and fight off those who seek vengeance for the defeat of Al Gore in the 2000 election.”

WorldNetDaily has established a Legal Defense Fund to offset legal costs in defending itself against this lawsuit. Contributions can be made online, or by calling WND toll-free at 1-877-909-1776. Also, a check, made payable to WorldNetDaily Legal Defense Fund, can be mailed to: WorldNetDaily.com, Inc., P.O. Box 409, Cave Junction, OR 97523.

Alternatively, readers may make tax-deductible contributions to the the U.S. Justice Foundation, which is leading the defense of reporters Charles C. Thompson II and Tony Hays, who wrote the 18-part WND investigative series.

Related story:

Gore crony sues WND

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Strike 1 against 1st Amendment

Will WND be muzzled?

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