The Jury Talks Back

1/23/2020

Tulsi Gabbard Sues Hillary Clinton For Defamation

Filed under: Uncategorized — JVW @ 11:33 am

[guest post by Dana and JVW]

Note from JVW – Dana began drafting this post yesterday but then transferred it over to the Little Aloha Sweetie desk at Patterico’s Pontifications for me to complete.

But of course:

Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard sued former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday for allegedly defaming her by suggesting the Hawaii congresswoman is a “Russian asset.”

“Clinton’s false assertions were made in a deliberate attempt to derail Tulsi’s campaign,” says the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

The suit claims that Gabbard has suffered “actual damages” of ”$50 million — and counting” from Clinton’s comments.

During the interview to which Gabbard’s suit refers, Clinton’s spokesman Nick Merrill confirmed that Clinton was specifically referring to Tulsi Gabbard:

Hillary Clinton says she believes that the Republicans have “got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate.”

In a recent interview, Clinton didn’t mention Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii by name, but said she believes one candidate is “the favorite of the Russians.” Asked if the former secretary of state was referring to Gabbard, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said, “If the nesting doll fits…” He later tweeted that Clinton was referring to the GOP grooming Gabbard, not Russians.

Public figures don’t enjoy the same degree of legal protection against libel and slander that us ordinary private figures do. This creates a pretty high hurdle for a Congresswoman and Presidential candidate who wants to perhaps settle a political score with an opponent. And indeed, Rep. Gabbard’s lawsuit sounds more like an earnest op-ed piece than a legitimate tort action [bold emphasis added]:

Plaintiffs Tulsi Gabbard and Tulsi Now, Inc (collectively, “Tulsi”) bring this lawsuit against Defendant Hillary Rodham Clinton (“Clinton”) for defamation. Tulsi Gabbard is running for President of the United States, a position Clinton has long coveted, but has not been able to attain. In October 2019—whether out of personal animus, political enmity, or fear of real change within a political party Clinton and her allies have long dominated —Clinton lied about her perceived rival Tulsi Gabbard. She did so publicly, unambiguously, and with obvious malicious intent. Tulsi has been harmed by Clinton’s lies—and American democracy has suffered as well. With this action, Tulsi seeks to hold Clinton, and the political elites who enable her, accountable for distorting the truth in the middle of a critical Presidential election.

In the Nature of the Case section of the suit, the Gabbard team cites her endorsement of Bernard Sanders four years ago as creating enmity between herself and the First Lady-turned-Senator-turned-Secretary, then accurately characterizes Mrs. Clinton as “a cutthroat politician by any account” (no, no, get it straight: Jeffery Epstein was hanged in his cell). They argue that Mrs. Clinton purposefully and maliciously defamed Rep. Gabbard in order to harm the Hawaiian Congresswoman’s reputation during her Presidential run as payback for four years ago when Rep. Gabbard’s resigned from her DNC post in protest of the advantages being given to the Clinton campaign during the primary at the expense of the Sanders campaign. The suit seeks unspecified compensatory damages along with costs and an injunction prohibiting further publication or republication of Mrs. Clinton’s statements.

Again, the lawsuit would seem like something of a long-shot, but Little Aloha Sweetie does have her allies. While conceding that her demand for relief “is not likely to succeed,” NRO’s Jim Geraghty points to a section of the suit which argues that Mrs. Clinton’s words carry an implied credibility far beyond that of the average journalist or blogger. He explains:

But Hillary Clinton isn’t just anybody. She was Secretary of State for four years, had the highest security clearance, and had access to all kinds of extremely secret classified information. (And if the 2016 cycle taught us anything, it’s that Clinton is always careful with classified information!) When Hillary Clinton accuses someone of being a Russian agent, it comes with the implication that this isn’t run-of-the-mill fuming or paranoia but a suspicion or accusation based upon something Clinton saw or learned from the U.S. intelligence community.

It is worth considering whether those in high places such as Mrs. Clinton have an extra-special obligation not to make wild accusations about the rest of us. (And yes, Mr. Geraghty does mention those ex-CIA folks who accuse President Trump of treason.) Hillary Clinton is an awful person, and her petty vindictiveness and disregard for any and all norms of propriety will be a major part of her ugly legacy. I (JVW) think that Rep. Gabbard’s lawsuit against Google is far more meritorious than this lawsuit, though both of them deal with the same idea of a fetid and corrupt Democrat establishment (including friendly business allies) tipping the scales for the candidates they favor and decidedly against those whom they oppose. The message here should be that if you want to play in the Democrat pigsty, you had better expect to get covered in excrement.

– Dana and JVW

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