Ken White has a post up explaining why the defamation claim against Lee Stranahan in the Gilmore LOLsuit should fail as a matter of law.
Only false statements of provable fact are potentially defamatory. The First Amendment absolutely protects opinion when that opinion is based on disclosed facts, however ludicrous and evil the opinion is. Here, Stranahan discloses his facts, which are undisputed: Gilmore had a picture of the Heyer and referred to her as a martyr, and Gilmore works for the State Department. From these undisputed facts Stranahan spins his opinion: these facts show a conspiracy against Trump, the conspiracy is trying to get a coup or impeachment or smear Trump supporters, and so on. It’s an opinion only an evil or diseased mind would offer. But it’s a protected opinion — just like my saying look at this specific thing Stranahan did, he’s crazy or evil. If Stranahan had said “based on documents I’ve reviewed I think Gilmore is a Soros-paid deep state operative and organized the killing as a false flag,” that would be potentially defamatory, because it’s based on undisclosed facts — the “documents.” Here, an opinion based on clearly disclosed facts — no matter how vile, moronic, or disturbed — is absolutely protected by the First Amendment. Similarly, because it’s a discussion on a political matter of public interest, it’s also almost certainly protected from the intentional infliction claim under Snyder v. Phelps.
Stranahan’s lawyer Aaron Walker — whom you may recall had to fight for his own First Amendment rights against domestic terrorist Brett Kimberlin — has ably made this point in his motion to dismiss, along with other points beyond the scope of this post.
Read whole thing. When you do, you’ll see that Ken White doesn’t much agree with Lee Stranahan but that he does support Lee’s right to free expression.
In other Gilmore LOLsuit news, Gilmore’s lawyers filed an amended complaint today. attempting to deal with the deficiencies in their original complaint pointed out in the motion to dismiss. IANAL, but it seems that they should have waited to read Ken White’s post before filing this—
This complaint was filed by lawyers at the Georgetown University Law Center Civil Rights Clinic, lawyers who are supposed to be teaching students how to practice law. Full time tuition at the Georgetown University Law Center is $59,850 per academic year.