Defamation Suit Against Beck to Continue

You’ll remember the defamation suit filed by a Saudi student against Glenn Beck after Beck flat out lied about him, claiming that he was the “money man” behind the Boston Marathon bombings. You’ll also remember that Beck tried to get that suit dismissed, arguing that the man was a public figure…because Beck made him one by lying about him. A judge rejected that motion and the case will go to trial:

A federal judge has rejected a bid by conservative commentator Glenn Beck to toss out a libel lawsuit filed by a Saudi student Beck repeatedly accused of funding the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

In a ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris said the suit brought by Abdulrahman Alharbi could go forward notwithstanding claims by Beck, his website The Blaze.com, and firms connected to his radio show that the Saudi’s role in events near the finish line of the marathon made him a public figure. If deemed a public figure, Alharbi would have found it difficult or impossible to proceed with the suit since he would need proof of actual malice: namely, that Beck intentionally lied or recklessly disregarded the truth.

Alharbi was briefly investigated in connection with the bombing and a variety of media outlets reported on that inquiry. But Saris said that was not sufficient to render the student, who also incurred minor injuries at the finish line, a public figure.

“Choosing to attend a sporting event as one of thousands of spectators is not the kind of conduct that a reasonable person would expect to result in publicity. Quite to the contrary, a spectator at an event like the Boston Marathon would reasonably expect to disappear into the throngs of others, never attracting notice by the press. Because he did not ‘assume the risk of publicity,’ Alharbi does not meet the definition of an involuntary public figure,” the judge wrote…

“Even if a private person meets the definition of an involuntary public figure as a matter of bad luck during a public controversy, the status is of limited duration. As such, Alharbi lost that status when his name was cleared,” the judge wrote in an opinion posted here.

Man, I hope he wins and I hope he leaves Beck completely bankrupt. What he did in this case is already morally bankrupt. He claimed to have proof that Alharbi was behind the bombings and said he was giving the government three days to admit it or he would prove it. Of course, he had nothing at all showing that the man had anything to do with it. The FBI had investigated the matter and found that the guy was just an innocent bystander, a victim who was injured in the bombings himself. Beck lied and he lied for days on end. I hope it costs him every fucking dime he’s earned in his career as a professional liar.

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  • raven

    I hope it costs him every fucking dime he’s earned in his career as a professional liar.

    1. You are unfortunately just going to be disappointed.

    2. Beck is very wealthy from babbling like a loon, with a fortune estimated at $100 million. He won’t pay the judgement anyway. His companies will as a cost of doing business and write it off on their taxes.

    3. Most likely after the trial starts, there will be a quiet negotiation and an out of court settlement. Beck will then claim to be a persecuted prophet, that Obama, the government, and the Space Reptiles are out to get him, and ask his clueless fans to send him more money so he doesn’t end up dead or in prison. Which they will.

    Who pays any attention to Beck anyway? I certainly don’t know anyone. Except one very old guy who has an age related cognitive impairment. And even he doesn’t much any more, since his condition has progressed.

  • Sastra

    raven #1 wrote:

    Who pays any attention to Beck anyway?

    I don’t know, but I recently read somewhere that Beck is very wealthy from babbling like a loon — with a fortune estimated at $100 million! So someone is watching him. A lot of someones, probably.

  • Michael Heath

    From the article that Ed quotes:

    If deemed a public figure, Alharbi would have found it difficult or impossible to proceed with the suit since he would need proof of actual malice: namely, that Beck intentionally lied or recklessly disregarded the truth.

    I agree with the judge that Mr. Alharbi’s not a public figure. However even if he was one, Glenn Beck, “intentionally lied or recklessly disregarded the truth.” So this case is illustrative of how poorly the courts handle defamation cases. That’s in a way that enables and effectively promotes liars.

  • grumpyoldfart

    My prediction: Beck won’t pay a cent.

  • blf

    It would not surprise me if Beclown asked for donations to pay his legal bills, damages, etc. Tax-free to him (channels it through a “church” or some other scam).

  • Kevin Kehres

    I’m quite sure grumpy is right…his insurance company will, however. Lots and lots of cents.

    Maybe the insurance company will refuse to underwrite after the judgment (or settlement–whatever). Then it’ll cost him a little more to self-insure in order to keep the money train going.

    I also agree that to Beck this suit is a net benefit. Because the very, very worst thing that could happen to him is that nobody would care one way or another. And they would stop listening/watching. Irrelevancy would be by far the worst fate for Beck, et al.

  • zmidponk

    He claimed to have proof that Alharbi was behind the bombings and said he was giving the government three days to admit it or he would prove it.

    Did he actually hand this ‘proof’ over to the FBI, or some other appropriate authority? If he didn’t, why would the government admit something on the basis of ‘proof’ they haven’t seen?

    (This being Beck, my guess is that, if he had actually handed it over before making this ultimatum, the reason the government were not admitting anything is that they took one look at it, felt their brain cells imploding at the utter stupidity of it, and filed this ‘proof’ in the appropriate place – right beside the ‘proof’ that 9/11 was an inside job, the ‘proof’ that Obama was actually born in Kenya, and the ‘proof’ that the lizard people have been ruling the Earth for the past few thousand years.)

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    Most likely after the trial starts, there will be a quiet negotiation and an out of court settlement. Beck will then claim to be a persecuted prophet, that Obama, the government, and the Space Reptiles are out to get him…

    Most such settlements require nondisclosure agreements. Which Beck would immediately break the second he started nailing himself to a cross. Which would probably get him sued again. Rinse and repeat.

  • http://composer99.blogspot.ca composer99

    Here’s hoping Alharbi takes Beck to the fucking cleaners.

  • abb3w

    Last I saw, Alharbi is asking for $20M. However, it doesn’t take much stretch of the imagination to produce a scenario where he might end up with something more modest, circa $5M. It would seem terribly amusing if the judgement ends up being roughly equivalent to the current value of Glen Beck’s weight in gold.

  • whheydt

    One wonders what would happen if Alharbi refuses to settle and it actually goes to trial (yes, I know that’s risky). This is a civil suit…Beck could be compelled to testify and taking the 5th can be construed against him…

  • digitalcanary

    Poetic justice would include forcing Beck to read a prepared (by the court) statement over and over for some multiple of the amount of time that he spent defaming Alharbi – and for at least as many days as he spent defaming him.