A federal court’s recent ruling that the District of Columbia’s anti-defamation statute does not apply in federal cases could help move forward a federal lawsuit brought by WND against Esquire magazine for its false report that the WND Books expose “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 WND case is being held up because Esquire has filed a motion to dismiss based on D.C.’s anti-SLAPP law, which is designed to protect media and public figures from frivolous lawsuits.
But the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. ruled Feb. 2 in a case brought by the multinational corporation 3M against former Bill Clinton adviser Lanny Davis that D.C.’s anti-SLAPP law does not apply in federal cases.
WND’s attorney, Larry Klayman, said he has notified Judge Rosemary Collier of the ruling in the Davis-3M case and urged her to apply it to WND’s case and deny Esquire’s special motion to dismiss.
Denial of the Esquire motion would allow the case to proceed to discovery.
Defendants along with Esquire Magazine Inc., are its parent company, the Hearst Corporation, and Mark Warren, the author of the false report.
Klayman explained that D.C.’s anti-SLAPP law makes advancing cases like WND’s difficult, because it essentially requires the plaintiff to prove his case even before discovery.
“This will now allow discovery, and we will be able to look into the internal workings of Esquire and Mark Warren and their campaign to harm the plaintiffs,” Klayman told WND.
“Their only defense with regard to defamation is that this was parody,” Klayman said. “Well, that’s not an issue for a judge to decide, that’s an issue for a jury to decide. So she should summarily deny that motion to dismiss.”
In the Davis case, 3M alleges the former Clinton adviser engaged in a “defamatory media blitz” against 3M after a business dispute between the company and the manufacturer of a medical product.
WND’s suit seeks $250 million in damages for the report, which included completely fabricated “statements” from Farah.
The controversy began the morning of May 18 when Warren, Esquire’s executive editor who supervises political coverage for the magazine, published what appeared to be a news story quoting Farah as saying he was destroying hundreds of thousands of copies of Corsi’s explosive new book challenging Barack Obamas eligibility for office and issuing refunds.
Immediately, news organizations throughout the U.S. began contacting Farah for confirmation of the story and comment. In addition, buyers of the book began requesting refunds and its supporters began attacking Farah.
Faked report by Esquire
When the suit was filed June 29, Farah, founder and CEO of WND, also a plaintiff along with WND Books and Corsi, 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 was 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 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.”
Esquire issued a disclaimer, insisting it had “committed satire,” only after Farah issued a statement saying that he was “exploring legal options” against Esquire and Warren.
The complaint charges that Esquire’s disclaimer was as false, misleading and legally actionable as the initial story.
The suit points out that Warren later told The Daily Caller he had “no regrets” about posting the item, and that Corsi was an “execrable piece of sh–.”
Watch Part 1 of news conference held to provide details of the lawsuit here: