Breitbartocalypse No! Sherrodocalypse Rumbles On [Updated]
There seems to have been little discussion in any media of recent developments in the long-running lawsuit between Shirley Sherrod and Andrew Breitbart.*
Following the infamous scandal that saw Sherrod resign from her USDA post after Breitbart propagated a misleadingly edited video of a speech she made at a March 2010 NAACP event and alleged on several occasions that it showed evidence of racism, with delicious timing he was served with a lawsuit at CPAC 2011. (We covered earlier developments here, here, here, here, and here.)
Big bullying right-wing hero that he is, you’d think that Breitbart would be absolutely desperate to see this case proceed so he can gain wider currency for his claim that the motivation behind the video was to expose Sherrod’s role in the supposed “Pigford Affair” and pursue the mythical discovery process that his followers were jumping with joy over when news of the suit first broke. But Breitbart’s legal team, which appears to have enlisted Orly Taitz as a consultant, has been trying to stall and have the suit thrown out on numerous grounds, most recently in April 2011 by invoking the Anti-SLAPP Act:
WASHINGTON (CN) - Former U.S Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod’s lawsuit against right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart survived a motion to dismiss, clearing the way for her to pursue the high-profile defamation suit she filed against him and a colleague last year.
Sherrod Sued Breitbart and associate Larry O’Connor in February 2011, charging the two men posted a heavily edited clip of her online that led to accusations of racism and ultimately got her fired.
Breitbart filed his motion under the D.C. Anti-SLAPP Act, which provides that if a defendant can show the claim at issue arises from an act in furtherance of the right to free speech - and if it is also related to an issue of public concern - he can file a special motion to dismiss.
But in a terse decision, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon tossed the motion, pointing out that the D.C. law that the motion was based on did not take affect until more than a month after Sherrod filed her defamation suit.
The full Statement of Reasons for the motion’s dismissal is here (PDF). It catalogues numerous errors by Breitbart’s legal team, including missed filing deadlines, and its closing sentence betrays a degree of ennui and exasperation from Judge Leon:
Regrettably, it appears that defendants will not be satisfied with this Court’s ruling until a considerable amount of judicial and litigant resources are expended on its “novel,” if not overeaching, motion.
This doesn’t augur well for Breitbart’s telegraphed intention to try to widen the scope of the case to cover his “Pigford” allegations, let alone his acolytes’ hopes that he may be able to stretch the bounds of “discovery” to make more mischief.
Once the stalling tactics are exhausted, along with the patience of the court, we should find out the identity of the “John Doe” also cited, and thus the identity of the video’s editor, and possibly some interesting information about the workings and funding of Breitbart’s “Big” operation. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for any coverage of this latest development on any of Breitbart’s sites—or indeed anywhere in the righty blogosphere—it’s all gone a wee bit quiet over there on this front.
* Yes, yes, it’s another Lithgow pic. I wouldn’t inflict a Breitbart image on you at this hour on a Monday.
More: The only new Breitbart coverage I can find online this morning is this hagiographic interview by The Daily Caller’s Ginni Thomas (yup, that’s Clarence Thomas’s teabagging wife), who lauds him as “an important leader in the conservative movement” who “passionately challenges political and cultural narratives propagated by the left.” The footage of a distinctly even more raddled-looking than usual Breitbart covers “what’s at stake in our politics, the left’s censoring of him, and news topics the old media has refused to cover.”
As of time of writing, Breitbart’s own organs are refusing to cover the right’s censoring of this blog and the failure of his motion to dismiss the Sherrod lawsuit.
More more: Free Republic, however, goes where they fear to tread.