Compared to other countries, the United States has relatively narrow defamation laws. The First Amendment significantly restricts defamation claims, and legislatures have provided additional defendant protections such as 47 USC 230 and anti-SLAPP laws. To protect United States residents from being subject to the more expansive defamation laws of other countries, Congress enacted the SPEECH Act in 2010. The SPEECH Act says that defamation judgments from other countries can’t be enforced in the United States unless the ruling is consistent with U.S. law. Last week, in an important precedent-setting ruling, a federal appeals court blocked enforcement of a Canadian defamation judgment due to the SPEECH Act. Continue reading………..
For those of you not following Slabbed on twitter I have a couple of links. First up is the story from LexisNexis’ Law360.com (subscription required) that I think told it best. Here is a snippet:
“The Nova Scotia Court’s oral decision does not contain specific findings of fact with respect to the falsity of Handshoe’s statements,” the opinion said. “Trout Point could not identify a single specific allegation in the statement of claim that the Nova Scotia Court found was actually false.”
Jack E. Truitt, who represented Handshoe, told Law360 Friday that the appeals court decision makes it “almost impossible to get a defamation lawsuit judgment in Canada and come here and enforce it.”
“[The SPEECH Act] has been on the books since 2010, but this is the first widely reported decision on it,” Truitt said. “From the perspective of journalists, it should help you guys sleep a little easier.”
An attorney for Trout Point did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
I know I’ve slept better ever since Bobby signed up to defend Slabbed. Quality lawyers get quality decisions and I can’t say enough good things about the job he did. I was surprised to see the otherwise loquacious Henry Laird declining comment as he frequently comments on his cases locally.
I invite all of my media brothers and sisters to sleep well tonight under the blanket of freedom provided by Slabbed New Media, Bobby Truitt and yours truly. Click the pic to score the 25 page opinion. I’ll have more a bit later.
Via facsimile (902) 742-0678
February 6, 2013
Justice Leon Muise
Supreme Court of Nova Scotia
164 Main Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 1C2
RE: Yarmouth Action #328248
Trout Point Lodge et al v Louisiana Media Company LLC
Dear Justice Muise:
On Friday January 18, 2013 I was contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding a security breach and/or hacking of my widely read legal affairs blog at www.slabbed.org by persons connected to or acting on behalf of targets of an ongoing Federal Investigation in post Hurricane Katrina political corruption on the Gulf Coast, specifically metro New Orleans. The above action is one of several defamation suits filed by Aaron Broussard’s American expatriate business managers in Canada1, Charles Leary and Vaughn Perret over minute details of their self-admitted business relationships and management of an entity that United States prosecutors would later describe as an elaborate bribery scheme.2 The United States District Court for Southern District of Mississippi would later describe these Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation lawsuits filed by Broussard’s Canadian based business agents as the practice of “libel tourism”.3
The purpose of this letter is to address the use of perjured affidavits by Charles Leary in the above captioned defamation suit filed before your court to invade the privacy of US Internet commenters commenting on a US political corruption scandal. Attached to this letter is a motion made by Charles Leary under your local rule 14 filed on April 26, 2011 seeking a court order to obtain the IP address of 4 commenters on my blog including myself. Mr. Leary claimed in the court filing and at a later hearing before your court in May, 2011 that I was an anonymous blogger, that he did not know my identity and needed a court order to determine such in order to file suit against me and 3 other Americans for defamation in Canada.
Also attached to this letter is an affidavit sworn in United States District Court by Mr. Leary in Yarmouth Nova Scotia dated July 25, 2012 submitted to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi in which Mr Leary swore:4
“On May 6, 2011, a process server named Chris Yount served a Notice of Intended Action directed to Doug Handshoe on Doug Handshoe’s wife at his residence in Bay St Louis, Mississippi.”
Less than two weeks later he was in your courtroom testifying he did not know the identity of the publisher of Slabbed. The effect of this was that I and 3 others were denied due process to contest Mr Leary’s wild accusations. Continue reading
Part 2 of this series ended with the allegations contained in the Concrete Busters lawsuit that Fred Heebe, along with several co-conspirators has been waging a coordinated campaign to unmask and otherwise harass internet commenters sharing information on the political scandal in Jefferson Parish. I’ve always pointed to the first post I did on Aaron Broussard’s curious connections to an Eco lodge in Nova Scotia Canada in January 2010 as the beginning of this saga but it really isn’t as the retaliation didn’t begin in earnest until May, 2010 as the following blast from the past should jog everyone’s memory:
Jefferson Parish president sues his online critics ~ Richard Rainey, The Times Picayune
Interim Jefferson Parish President Steve Theriot Citing defamation and “suffered embarrassment” allegedly caused by online comments posted at www.NOLA.com, Jefferson Parish interim President Steve Theriot has filed a lawsuit requesting the identities behind 11 user accounts on the website.
The suit was filed by attorneys Nan Alessandra and David Korn of the Phelps Dunbar law firm.
The lawsuit also references messages posted on a local web log called slabbed.wordpress.com, but doesn’t specifically identify any comments, screen names or accounts used there.
“We haven’t actually been contacted by Jefferson Parish at all, as far as official channels,” said Doug Handshoe, who co-founded that site in Mississippi. After reading the lawsuit, he said: “I think it’s certainly designed to intimidate and silence online commenters.
“We don’t intend to alter what we’re doing at all,” he said.
Let’s leave aside for the moment that only the Parish Council has the legal authority to sue on behalf of the Parish or that the taxpayers of Jefferson Parish picked up the tab for TheRiot’s jackassery but it is what it is. Later the same day I would appear on Fox 8 in a Val Bracy report which aired on the 9PM news:
By May 2010 everyone that was anyone in the Landfill saga knew who I was including Aaron Broussard and his band of Goatherders. Slabbed continued undaunted and in my opinion February 2011 was our finest month to date as myself and my former blog partner were in rare form and we covered it all from the Rigsby Qui Tam suit to Ex Rel Branch, the Search and seizure fight involving River Birch and then on February 25 the indictment of Henry Mouton.
March, 2011 continued the pace with those and related topics but it was this post on March 31, 2011 that proved to be the last straw for the Goatherders. The bogus DMCA takedown notices began to flow right around the time I tried the first time to make the jump to the self hosted site Slabbed.org. Also in April, 2011 I announced the formation of Slabbed New Media LLC as the new owner of the blog. April, 2011 is important to this story for another reason: Continue reading
The post was insanely good except for one part but before we get to the post and part to which I refer, let’s visit with this New York Times story from 5 days ago:
The question is no longer who has been hacked. It’s who hasn’t?
The Washington Post can be added to the growing list of American news organizations whose computers have been penetrated by Chinese hackers.
After The New York Times reported on Wednesday that its computers as well as those of Bloomberg News had been attacked by Chinese hackers, The Wall Street Journal said on Thursday that it too had been a victim of Chinese cyberattacks.
The above illustrates the vulnerability of sophisticated corporate networks to hacking but we also learned that from News Corp in the UK in 2012. I mention this because last month the Times Picayune’s Gordon Russell wrote a story on Fred Heebe’s witch hunt for a private citizen that used the guest computer at the International House Hotel to comment on NOLA.com about the scandal in Jefferson Parish, specifically Dutchie Connick’s role in the alleged conspiracy between the River Birch Landfill and the Broussard Administration to put in the fix in favor of River Birch and close the Parish’s own landfill.
And that brings me to that insanely good post I mentioned at the beginning as I have previously linked it twice on Slabbed, Jason Berry’s A corner piece of the commenter puzzle. I featured that post in part 1 of this series and I need to feature it again to set up the balance of this post, which will be both long and thorough. Jason set up 4 possibilities which would explain how Fred Heebe ended up knowing the mystery commenters opined on Dutchie Connick from the International House computer along with the email address that he used to register with NOLA.com and I summarize:
1. The IP information of this commenter was obtained from a second party marketer or vendor?……..
2. Someone within the NOLA Media Group or Advanced Publications shared the IP and identifying information with Heebe’s defense team that allowed them to track the commenter back to the hotel………
3. Advanced Publications/Nola.com servers were hacked………
4. Heebe’s team somehow knew that the commenter was using the hotel’s computer already and they put a keystroke recorder on it in order to track down the exact time and date the commenter was using it……….
He then opines that the application of Occam’s Razor results in bullet point #2 being the most likely scenario. I disagree and will add a 5th possibility. None of the above. Continue reading