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ACLU tackles Snyder libel lawsuit

Danny Jacobs//July 19, 2011

ACLU tackles Snyder libel lawsuit

By Danny Jacobs

//July 19, 2011

A few interested parties have entered the Dan Snyder-City Paper libel lawsuit with (rhetorical) guns a-blazin’.

The Washington chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus brief in support of City Paper’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the Washington Redskins’ owner in response to a November 2010 article.

Among the dozen organizations joining the ACLU in the filing are the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Society of Professional Journalists and the publishers of Politico and National Journal.

The brief argues in part that Snyder’s complaint is a “SLAPP,” a “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.” The D.C. City Council passed an “anti-SLAPP” law in December designed to protect people who “speak and write about issues of public interest,” according to the ACLU.

Lawsuits filed against such people (in this case City Paper writer Dave McKenna) should be dismissed unless “the person bringing the lawsuit can show that he is likely to win the case if it is allowed to go forward,”  according to the ACLU.

But the brief goes beyond legal arguments, attacking Snyder using cultural references that would make Court of Appeals Judge Glenn T. Harrell Jr. proud.First, there’s mention of a certain boy wizard:

While the plaintiff has not yet had an opportunity to make his case, and it would therefore be premature for amici to express an unqualified conclusion on the merits, the facts on the public record suggest that he is as likely to prevail on the merits here as Voldemort is to prevail over Harry Potter in their final battle.

Then there’s this zinger:

Absent exceptionally dramatic and unexpected revelations by the plaintiff, his ability to demonstrate a likelihood of prevailing on the merits appears to be of the same order of magnitude as the likelihood of the Redskins winning this year’s Super Bowl.

I think that line might hurt Snyder’s feelings more than any story written about him.

HT: Deadspin


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