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Mean Judge Won't Dismiss Case Against Glenn Beck For Calling Kid A Terrorist
Poor Glenn Beck. Not only is he suffering from a broken brain and living in a country that just doesn't understand him, it turns out he may actually be held responsible for one of his attempts to ruin somebody's life.
As you may recall, Beck is being sued for defamation by the Saudi guy he accused over and over of being behind the Boston Marathon bombings, even well after the feds cleared him. The bombing just had to be the responsibility of Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi, then 20 and a student in Boston, because he was 1) Saudi, 2) injured in the bombing, 3) did we mention Saudi?, and 4) Osama bin Ladin's son. (OK, Beck didn't ever cite that one -- but it was out there in the mix, largely thanks to the attention Beck threw at Alharbi.)
Even after the Tsarnaev brothers were identified as the actual bombers, Beck continued to insist that Alharbi had to be the mastermind or maybe the "money man," because SHOCKING EVIDENCE that never quite materialized. Alharbi, understandably not so keen on having been called a terrorist, a murderer, a child-killer, and a threat to all that is good and holy, sued Beck, his production company, and his radio network back in March.
And now, a major development in that case: a federal judge has refused Glenn Beck's request to dismiss the case on the grounds that Alharbi is a "public figure." As you all know from libel law 101, public figures can't sue for defamation very easily; they have to prove that whoever was badmouthing them wasn't just lying but also knew they were lying and went on lying out of malice. Beck's lawyers had argued that Alharbi was definitely a public figure, because he was in the news -- even the non-Glenn-Beck news -- after the FBI briefly questioned and cleared him.
U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris wasn't buying it. In rejecting Beck's motion to classify Alharbi as a public figure, she wrote:
Choosing to attend a sporting event as one of thousands of spectators is not the kind of conduct that a reasonable person would expect to result in publicity. Quite to the contrary, a spectator at an event like the Boston Marathon would reasonably expect to disappear into the throngs of others, never attracting notice by the press. Because he did not 'assume the risk of publicity,' Alharbi does not meet the definition of an involuntary public figure.
And no, just because someone was in the news for five minutes and then cleared as a suspect doesn't give Beck the right to continue speculating and lying about him long afterward, Saris explained:
Even if a private person meets the definition of an involuntary public figure as a matter of bad luck during a public controversy, the status is of limited duration. As such, Alharbi lost that status when his name was cleared.
In her decision, Saris held that since Alharbi is a "private figure," he doesn't need to prove "actual malice," and can go forward with the suit on the grounds that Beck and his production company "were negligent as to the truthfulness of their reports after the authorities cleared his name."
Poor Glenn Beck. Why is he constantly being betrayed by the country he loves so much that he's willing to protect it at any cost, even if he has to just make shit up?
[ Politico ]