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A judge in Wisconsin ruled Monday that a Sandy Hook truther's bullshit conspiracy-theory book-shaped object defamed Leonard Pozner, the father of the youngest child to die in the mass shooting, and set a trial date later this year to determine damages. The 2016 book, with the elegant title Nobody Died At Sandy Hook: It was a FEMA Drill to Promote Gun Control, insisted, among other keen insights, that in reality the Sandy Hook school had been abandoned for years before the 2012 massacre, and that Pozner, father of six-year-old murder victim Noah Pozner, had faked his son's death certificate as part of an elaborate conspiracy to take America's guns away -- and besides, maybe the child never existed at all.

In an interview, Mr. Pozner told the New York Times,

This is a victory for myself and my family [...] It is also a victory for the survivors and victims' families of all mass casualty events who have been targeted by these people.

The case focused primarily on the contention that Pozner had fabricated his son's death certificate, a claim laid out in a chapter by the book's co-editor, James Fetzer, who himself lives in the geographically dishonest village of "Oregon, Wisconsin," and if that isn't a conspiracy we don't know what is. Fetzer, a philosophy professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, had claimed that a copy of a copy of god knows how many copies of the death certificate was clearly fake, because very stupid reasons involving seals and file numbers and the sort of dumb shit we all heard about Barack Obama's birth certificate.

Pozner's attorney, Jacob Zimmerman, demonstrated to the court's satisfaction that Fetzer's arguments were nonsense:


Among other things, Zimmerman pointed to separate state and local processes for issuing death certificates to explain why a state file number didn't appear on the document. And he explained the process for listing a time of death on the document, which Fetzer claimed doesn't match the time of the shooting.

Zimmerman also submitted an official copy of the death certificate, with the required embossed seal, to the court and argued that Fetzer and Palecek had not asked for the original but had instead relied on "copies of copies of copies that they found somewhere out on the internet."

Dane County Circuit Judge Frank Remington found the explanations for the certified death certificate "legitimate and plausible and persuasive," and patiently explained, presumably seeking to use the smallest words possible, that a difference between different official copies of documents "does not alone indicate that any of them are false [...] It only demonstrates a difference."

In addition, NPR reports, Zimmerman took a further step to "prove" that Noah Pozner was a real child, as if mere facts would ever be persuasive to conspiracy loons:

He filed a motion asking the court to appoint an independent expert to conduct a post-mortem paternity test using Noah's limited remaining DNA matter.

"We obtained a sample of Noah Pozner's DNA from the medical examiner's office and had a court ordered expert do DNA testing to confirm that Leonard Pozner was the biological father of the person whose body was examined by Connecticut's state medical examiner," Zimmerman explained.

"We wanted to make sure that our hands were out of it and no one could ever accuse us of having injected ourselves into the process in a way that could impact the outcome."

It's an impressive show of optimism by Mr. Zimmerman, if nothing else.

In addition to the court finding against Fetzer and his co-editor, Mike Palecek, the book's publisher, Moon Rock Books, reached a separate settlement with Pozner after a deposition in May. Moon Rock head dude Dave Gahary issued a statement Monday saying

My face-to-face interactions with Mr. Pozner have led me to believe that Mr. Pozner is telling the truth about the death of his son. I extend my most heartfelt and sincere apology to the Pozner family[.]

Which is lawsuit-settlement talk for "I guess maybe trying to ruin real people's lives with bullshit conspiracy accusations is bad for business." Garahy agreed to stop selling the book altogether by the end of the month, and to not publish any further editions. In the meantime, the Moon Rock Books' homepage is offering this heartfelt message urging people to snap up a copy while they still can, and pushing other fun conspiracy books for which Moon Rock hasn't yet been sued:

For his part, Fetzer maintains in a very astute blog post that the judge was completely wrong, and that the death certificate shown in the book IS TOO "illegal and a fabrication." You see, while maybe the death certificate Zimmerman brought to court might have been official, that's not the one Fetzer was talking about anyway, he meant the fake one that is fake. Fetzer maintains that while his original reasons for thinking the certificate was fake turned out to be incorrect, he still honestly thinks it was fake, for NEW reasons, so he can't be lying, and so there's no defamation case.

Fetzer also continually puts "Noah Pozner" in scare quotes to imply there was never any such person, adding this beautiful legal theory to explain why one copy of the boy's death certificate was updated with Leonard Pozner's home address:

That struck me as at least faintly absurd because no one changes their last residence after they are dead! During his video deposition, I asked the Plaintiff why had had made this change, to which he replied that "Noah" had only resided at that address with his mother for a brief period of time and he wanted his death certificate to reflect the location where he had longer resided, which I regard as highly implausible. A more reasonable explanation for this change has come from the forensic document examiner, A.P. Robertson, who suggests this may have been an effort by Plaintiff to ensure that donations from the public would flow to him at [address redacted by Wonkette] rather than to his ex-wife at [address redacted by Wonkette] which, if true, would explain it.

What a charmer. Fetzer also offers this smart analysis of why the complaint against him only includes the boy's initials: It's clear proof that no such child ever lived and his father is part of a shadowy inhuman conspiracy:

As a father myself, I cannot imagine in my wildest dreams having lost a child and then feeling compelled to bring a lawsuit to protect his sanctity and then only referring to him by his initials. All of these oddities are more readily explicable on the hypothesis that "Noah" is a fiction made up out of photographs of his purported older step-brother, [name redacted by Wonkette] than on the hypothesis that he was real.

So we guess we'll mark Fetzer down as "unrepentant," then.

Also, Alex Jones was slapped with some legal sanctions by the judge in the defamation case against him, for that outburst against the attorney for the plaintiffs the other day, but that's a separate case, and thanks a hell of a lot NPR for covering that in the same story as the Fetzer decision, putting Jones in the featured photo, and making people think Jones had lost his lawsuit. Please be more better, like yr Wonkette.

[NPR / Wisconsin State Journal / NYT]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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