Faked report by Esquire
WASHINGTON – Esquire magazine, part of the Hearst media empire, has asked for extra time to respond to a lawsuit brought by WND, WND Books, the companies’ founder Joseph Farah and author Jerome Corsi over the magazine’s faked report claiming that the book “Where’s the Birth Certificate? The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible To Be President” had been recalled and repudiated by the publisher.
The plaintiffs confirmed they agreed to the procedural move, which will give Esquire until Sept. 6 to respond. WND’s action seeks $250 million in damages for the report, which included completely fabricated “statements” from Farah.
When the case was filed June 29, Farah, founder and CEO of WND and also a plaintiff, said, “We are reacting to one of the most egregious abuses of freedom of the press that I have ever witnessed in my 30-plus year career in journalism.”
The legal action is being taken, Farah added, “not because we desire to restrict First Amendment-guaranteed protections, but because we want to police them and guard them.”
The new Esquire filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia says:
Defendants Hearst Communications, Inc. (publisher of Esquire magazine) and Mark Warren (collectively, “Esquire”), with the consent of plaintiffs Joseph Farah, Jerome Corsi, WorldNetDaily.com and WND Books (“Plaintiffs”), move this Court for an order extending the time by which Esquire must answer or otherwise respond to the Complaint in the above captioned action, in addition to the time prescribed by the Federal and Local Rules, to and including September 6, 2011.
Pursuant to Local Rule 7(m), counsel for Esquire certifies that Esquire has conferred with Plaintiffs’ counsel and has obtained Plaintiffs’ consent to the requested relief. In making this motion, Esquire does not waive, and instead preserves, any and all defenses which it may later raise.
WHEREFORE, Esquire respectfully requests the entry of an order extending the time by which Esquire must answer or otherwise respond to the Complaint to and including September 6, 2011.
The WND complaint notes that a significant number of people disbelieve Barack Obama’s claims to be eligible to be president of the United States. A recent poll indicated half the nation wants Congress to investigate his eligibility.
“President Barack Hussein Obama, wanting to try to eliminate this issue among voters and the American populace, recently released what many people, including Plaintiff Corsi, have reason to believe is a fraudulent birth certificate purporting to show that he was born in Hawaii,” the complaint states.
“Just as Plaintiff’s book was released, Defendants, each and every one of them, caused to be published and did publish at a minimum on the Internet, nationally and internationally, and specifically in the District of Columbia, an article entitled ‘Breaking: Jerome Corsi’s Birther Book Pulled from Shelves?,’ about Plaintiffs’ book,” the lawsuit says.
Punctuating the mass of evidence already compiled showing that Esquire’s false report damaged sales of “Where’s the Birth Certificate,” is an email received today by WND from a reader who reports having seen the Esquire report and then dropping her plan to purchase the book.
“I was one of those who had already placed the book in my cart at Amazon, waiting for it to come out, because it intrigued me,” she wrote. “But I did see the Esquire piece when it was released … and was very surprised when I saw that. I wondered if it could be true but didn’t see anything in the article leading me to believe that it was a prank, so was perplexed. I never ended up ordering the book from Amazon because I figured the books were being retracted.”
She continued, “I had never realized that Esquire came out saying it was satire. I would never have seen it as satire – satire is intentionally funny when reading it when you know it is picking fun at something. Even if I knew they were poking fun at the book (which I did not know), looking back now, I would still not call it satire because it’s not funny – it’s just a story (untrue one, at that).”
The case is being handled by attorney Larry Klayman. Defendants named include Esquire Magazine Inc., parent company the Hearst Corp., and Mark Warren, the author of the false report.
“You can’t just make up words and put them in people’s mouths, deliberately misleading the public, deliberately defaming others and deliberately lying to inhibit commerce,” Farah said when the case was initiated. “Media institutions such as Esquire magazine and its parent, the Hearst Corporation, for which I was employed for nearly a decade, should know better. And they will as a result of this lawsuit.”
The Esquire article stated that Farah announced plans to “recall and pulp the entire 200,000 first printing of the book, as well as announcing an offer to refund the purchase price to anyone who has already bought either a hard copy or electronic download of the book.”
Regarding the book, the Esquire article “quoted” Farah (falsely) as saying: “I cannot in good conscience publish it.”
The complaint explains that when the report appeared, news organizations, readers, purchasers and distributors began contacting Farah, and customers requested refunds.
“Only when Plaintiff Farah on behalf of himself and the other Plaintiffs issued a statement saying that he was exploring legal options against Esquire and Warren did they purport to issue a disclaimer,” the claim says.
Esquire’s disclaimer contended that the magazine had “committed satire in the matter of the Corsi book.”
But the complaint charges the statement was as false, misleading and legally actionable as the initial story that was published by the defendants.
The complaint notes that Warren later told The Daily Caller he had “no regrets” about posting the item, and that Corsi was an “execrable piece of sh–.”
But the truth is that the book never was withdrawn, never pulled from shelves and refunds were not offered.
The contents of the book, said the claim, “are accurate and newsworthy.”
The lawsuit includes allegations of defamation, false light, interference with business relations, invasion of privacy and other charges.
A news conference later was held providing details of the lawsuit: