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Appeals court revives Trump supporter’s defamation suit against MSNBC host Joy Reid

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It took a while to catch up to her, but far-left MSNBC host Joy Reid may soon finally be forced to pay up for the alleged crime of defaming a Trump supporter.

On Wednesday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reportedly revived a libel suit against her that had been filed two years ago by a Trump supporter.

And by doing so, the court reportedly put the entire establishment media — known for frequently defaming anyone to the right of Karl Marx — in a precarious spot.

It all started two years go this July when a left-wing activist, Alan Vargas, posted a photo to social media of a middle-aged California white woman with a MAGA hat debating another teen activist over the state’s sanctuary state law:

Vargas captioned the photo by writing the following smear: “‘You are going to be the first deported’ ‘dirty Mexican’ Were some of the things they yelled they yelled at this 14 year old boy. He was defending immigrants at a rally and was shouted down. Spread this far and wide this woman needs to be put on blast.”

It was all a lie (as documented here at the time) — one that went viral thanks in part to Reid, who shared Vargas defamatory post to her own Twitter feed.

She also shared the photo above to her Instagram:

As noted earlier, the narrative was a lie.

“I felt like she was still trying to keep it civil, which I appreciate. I heard that people were boycotting this woman’s business, and I don’t really want that,” the actual boy seen in the photo above said at the time to local station KTTV.

“I don’t, because she was being civil. I don’t really want this upon her. She doesn’t deserve it because she was giving her opinion in a place where everyone should be able to share their opinion.”

The story was published on June 29th, four days after the original incident.

Reid eventually deleted her posts and issued an apology on July 2nd:

But the woman she’d helped defame, Roslyn La Liberte, wasn’t satisfied with the apology — and for good reason, because it turned out that Reid had been warned repeatedly between June 29th and July 2nd to remove her defamatory posts.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, on June 30th, a day after KTTV’s report aired, La Liberte’s son emailed Reid a link to the story “and advised her characterization was inaccurate.” Yet it took until July 2nd for the MSNBC host to back down.

And so following the incident, La Liberte filed suit. However, that suit was struck down last year.

“Last September, Reid prevailed at a district court. The judge ruled that La Liberte was a limited purpose public figure because she had injected herself into public controversy around immigration. And, according to the judge, La Liberte couldn’t demonstrate that Reid acted with actual malice when she had wrongfully written that the woman had screamed ‘dirty Mexican,'” The Hollywood Reporter notes.

The court’s complaint essentially was that La Liberte hadn’t provided enough proof of defamation. In response, she filed an appeal, and on Wednesday the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in her favor and struck down the district court’s ruling.

“Accordingly, she was not required to allege that Reid acted with actual malice as to either post. Moreover, the court erred by characterizing Reid’s second post as nonactionable opinion. … That post could be interpreted as accusing La Liberte of engaging in specific racist conduct, which is a provable assertion of fact and therefore actionable,” a three-judge panel ruled.

In other words, the libel suit is back on.

View the court’s ruling below:

But there’s more.

“The appellate court also ruled that the case could not be dismissed under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, designed to prevent plaintiffs from stifling free speech via litigation. The judges found that the California law was ‘inapplicable’ in federal court because ‘it increases a plaintiff’s burden to overcome pretrial dismissal,'” Deadline reported.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, this ruling could have a large impact on the establishment media: “The opinion is a huge setback to media organizations, which filed an amicus brief at the Second Circuit with fear that a conclusion like the one reached today would lead to frivolous libel suits.”

But are frivolous suits against the media really that commonplace? The suits filed by the Covington Catholic High School students certainly weren’t frivolous.

This past January, one network, CNN, finally bent the knee and settled with the main plaintiff, Nick Sandmann, for an unspecified amount.

Meanwhile, Sandmann still remains involved in a suit against another outlet, The Washington Post. That suit was originally dismissed in July of 2019 but later reinstated — just like La Liberte’s suit — three months later.

Vivek Saxena

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