No doubt Breitbart’s money and backing will get him off in the long run but for now it is somewhat satisfying to see that Shirley Sherrod still has some room to continue her libel suit against the Murdoch-like web entrepreneur.
Leon denied Breitbart’s initial motion to dismiss as well as a special motion to dismiss under Washington’s new statute barring strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPPs. Leon did not publish a written opinion along with his orders.
Sherrod is suing Breitbart, Breitbart’s colleague Larry O’Connor and an unnamed defendant over the release of a video clip and accompanying text on Breitbart’s Web site claiming the video offered proof that Sherrod, who is black, discriminated against white farmers. Sherrod, in her complaint, argues Breitbart made defamatory accusations of racism based on a “deceptively edited” clip that was taken out of context.
Breitbart and O’Connor had argued that they were engaging in protected speech under the First Amendment when they posted the clip and comments online. They also argued that if the case is not dismissed, it should be moved to U.S. District Court for Central California because it’s where Breitbart and O’Connor live and work on the Web-based businesses in question.