A #libel #lawsuit filed by 'Birther' Joseph Farah and others against Esquire magazine has been tossed out, with the judge ruling the disputed Esquire piece amounted to a "satirical swipe" protected by the First Amendment.
In a 20-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer granted Esquire's move to dismiss the libel action undertaken by Mr. Farah, editor of WorldNetDaily.com, and author Jerome Corsi. Mr. Corsi authored the book entitled "Where’s the Birth Certificate? The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible To Be President."
By prevailing under D.C.'s anti-SLAPP statute, Esquire may be in a position to seek attorneys fees. Good news for Laura Handman and her winning team at Davis Wright Tremain.
Messrs. Farah and Corsi have been serious about pursuing questions about the president's birth status, as the judge enumerates:
"From June to December 2008, WND posted more than 60 Internet items on the issue of the President’s birth certificate. In the period between January 2009 through January 2010, WND posted approximately 280 entries on its website that in some form questioned the legitimacy of the President’s short-form birth certificate. From February 2010 to March 2011,WND posted another approximately 266 articles on the same issue."
Esquire.com fired back with a May 2011 posting, purporting to report that WND had pulled the Corsi book from the shelves for being so bogus. The satire -- which was not, in fact, particularly funny -- was labeled a "libelous smear" by the WND team, which subsequently filed a $120 million lawsuit.
Judge Collyer was unsympathetic, noting in the course of dismissing the lawsuit under D.C.'s anti-SLAPP statute:
"The Blog Post contained an expression of views that communicated to members of the public in connection with an issue of public interest, i.e., the dispute over whether President Obama qualifies by birthright to be President of the United States. Having become such well-known proponents of one position on the issue, Plaintiffs cannot complain that the very intensity of their advocacy also became part of the public debate. Those who speak with loud voices cannot be surprised if they become part of the story."