A few days ago, we blogged about a defamation lawsuit going down in Idaho. To recap: Linda Cook, a citizen commentator on The Spokesman-Review’s website, was sued for defamation by Linda Jacobson, the former chairwoman of the local GOP chapter. Jacobson was upset over Cook’s insinuation of theft. Specifically, according to Oregon Live, Cook typed, “Is that the missing $10,000 from Kootenai County Central Committee funds actually stuffed inside Tina’s blouse???”
But now Cook, who is representing herself pro se in court, says that she was not making an accusation in her post, but instead simply asking a question about the group’s accounting procedures. And she may have a point, since Cook, technically, did ask a question.
Will a judge agree with the plaintiff and rule that Cook “offended and embarrassed” Jacobson to the point of harm? Well, it very much depends on the judge.
In addition to asserting that her blog comment was a question, not a statement of fact, Cook also averred she has proof that:
- Jacobson didn’t provide a budget and other financial statements to the GOP Central Committee; and
- Jacobson failed to properly record various expenditures, as outlined by the group’s rules.
To further her argument, Cook also argued during the hearing that the onus of proving her statements were false falls on the plaintiff, since Jacobson is a “public figure” and therefore must adhere to “actual malice” standards.
The former committee chair is suing for at least $10,000 in defamation damages, even though the comments in question were only up for about 2.5 hours.
Defamation lawsuits very much depend on the individual circumstances of a given case. If you want to consult with an attorney that is well-versed in the nuances of slander and libel law, feel free to contact Kelly/Warner law today. We’ve successfully helped many with their defamation lawsuits, and we’re here to help you, too.