Who’s crazier: Bradlee Dean or Larry Klayman?
It’s a horse, or some part of a horse’s anatomy, anyway, apiece
Larry Klayman danced into our lives a couple of years ago, and we asked Who is that rakish stranger? We didn’t know. But we had a clue: he came to town to represent Bradlee Dean.
In the last scene of the buddy movie Bradlee and Larry go to Court, the pair was trying to figure out how to scrape together twenty thousand dollars plus to pay their hotel bill at the District of Columbia Superior Court. They had decided to move across the street to the federal court for the District of Columbia, but the Superior Court wouldn’t let them go without paying their tab, so they never made it to their new digs.
Klayman was representing Dean (really Smith; Bradlee Dean is just an alias, Larry) in a defamation suit that alleged that Rachel Maddow, the Minnesota Independent and others had defamed Bradlee by repeating Bradlee’s own words to a shocked and revolted public.
This, of course, was a novel legal theory, admired in some circles, especially the circles that were concerned about the radical homosexualist agenda and the perverse radical gay, lesbian, transgender sexual orientation and lifestyle for children and others at home and in the workplace.
But sadly, that case came a cropper, and Klayman has been casting about for something to do. And I am pleased to tell you he found it. He brought his own case for defamation, this time against City Pages, a sister newspaper in Arizona, their parent company, a couple of reporters for the newspapers, and Left.mn pal Ken Avidor, who is alleged by Larry to be a reporter for City Pages but he is not. Larry also took a couple of gratuitous untruthful swipes at Ken in the pleading at the link, which is an odd thing to do when you’re suing somebody for defamation.
The suit is over some things written in City Pages and later republished in the Arizona newspaper about Larry and his domestic troubles.
Larry seems like the kind of guy who doesn’t believe in divorce, but he had one anyway, a nasty affair really. And there were some, well, ticklish allegations made by Larry’s ex about his conduct with the kids — conduct that I hasten to add Larry denies. If you read paragraph 20 of the complaint on page 10, you can see that the defendants willfully got it wrong: only one child, Larry’s son, was involved in the allegations against him, and Larry didn’t get a fair shake because the magistrate, who apparently heard the evidence, was prejudiced against Larry, because you see, the magistrate is Jewish, and Larry is Jewish, too, but he has accepted Jesus as his personal lord and savior.
And besides, the allegations are apparently on appeal. Yes, Larry, it does seem that the defendants made this up out of whole cloth.
Klayman brought his suit in Middle District of Florida. Whether or not Klayman can get personal jurisdiction over the defendants is an open question. But the whole thing is reminiscent of the landmark case of New York Times v. Sullivan, probably the most celebrated First Amendment case in American jurisprudence.
It is useful to examine the facts of the Times case briefly. During the Civil Rights era, northern newspapers like the New York Times were reporting on civil rights demonstrations and civil rights abuses by local authorities, bringing these matters to the attention of the American public in a way that they never had been before. It was mightily resented by the southern establishment, including law enforcement, and southerners in general.
Since papers like the New York Times had national distribution, it was easy to sue them in state court. It was a common tactic of public officials to sue newspapers for libel, finding a fact that was wrong in a published article, whether it related to the story in any direct way or not. Sympathetic southern juries, given the chance, gave large libel awards to law enforcement or other public officials against the newspapers, which they considered “outside agitators.”
The Times court ruled, of course, that the First Amendment required not only 1) that a statement published had to be false, 2) that it also had to have been made maliciously, that is, deliberately, or without regard to whether the statement was true or not. And the malice had to be actual malice of a defendant, proven in the record, not to be inferred through some “reasonable person” (i.e., southerner) standard.
Klayman is going to have a difficult time proving the publication of a false statement, much less that one was made maliciously, but he obviously thinks geography is going to help him.
In addition to his claim of “straight” defamation — well, so to speak — Klayman includes a count of “defamation by implication.” This wild-eyed theory holds that you can say true things about somebody but it is still defamatory because the implication is that the person is bad. Sounds like Bradlee’s case against Maddow, doesn’t it?
This sucker is doomed, of course, just as Bradlee’s case was, but it does prove the law school adage that “A can always sue B, but winning is a separate question.”
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