Lawyers in Beck Defamation Suit to Get Access to FBI Files

Here’s an interesting development in the defamation suit against Glenn Beck filed by Abdulrahman Alharbi, the Saudi student he slandered by declaring over and over again that he was the “money man” behind the Boston Marathon bombing. The lawyers for both sides will get access to FBI files on their investigation into Alharbi, which totally exonerated him.

Lawyers representing both sides in a defamation case that was filed against radio host Glenn Beck in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings will get access to confidential information compiled by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies under a seal that will block the public and press from seeing the material, a federal judge ruled this week.

U.S. District Court Judge Patti B. Saris authorized the arrangement after lawyers for Beck and plaintiff Abdulrahman Alharbi stated in a joint motion that investigators wouldn’t provide the information without such an order. Saris stipulated that some federal agencies would have to justify each seal case-by-case…

In their joint motion seeking information from investigators, the attorneys wrote: “The Subpoenaed Non-Parties have objected to the production of documents in response to the Subpoenas on the grounds, inter alia, that certain responsive documents affect the privacy rights of individuals and/or the confidentiality needs of law enforcement. In view of these concerns, the Subpoenaed Non-Parties have agreed to produce documents responsive to the Subpoenas only upon the entry of a stipulated protective order.”

Beck’s lawyers,meanwhile, are still making the same argument they made in trying to get the case dismissed, which failed completely:

Referencing one part of the claim against them, the defendants countered: “Plaintiff is not entitled to recovery because he is an involuntary public figure and the statements complained of were published in good faith without actual malice, meaning knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard of probable falsity.”

That’s just false. First of all, Alharbi was only an “involuntary public figure” because Beck made him one. Had Beck not identified him, falsely, as being involved he would have been just another bystander who was injured in the bombing. Beck already tried that argument in pretrial motions and the judge rejected it. As for the claim that Beck acted in good faith and didn’t know his claims were false, remember that he claimed repeatedly that he had the proof that Alharbi was involved, that the FBI was covering it up and that he would reveal that proof in a few days if the government did not admit that Alharbi was the one who plotted and financed the bombing. If he can’t produce that evidence — and he can’t — then he was clearly lying and this claim of good faith is conclusively disproved.

"Yep. Principally raking in a nice fat paycheck for hauling the party line."

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  • Modusoperandi

    the Subpoenas

    Dibs on surf rock band name!

  • John Pieret

    A last ditch attempt, I suspect, to find anything by which they can argue to a jury (not that it will ever get that far) that Beck’s claims were true, which is a perfect defense.

  • caseloweraz

    @Modus: You could set up the band as a Netherlands operation. Then its legal name would be “Subpoenas N. V.”

  • Nick Gotts

    First of all, Alharbi was only an “involuntary public figure” because Beck made him one.

    Yes, a real-life parallel to the story of the man who murdered his parents then asked for clemency on the grounds that he was an orphan.

  • Modusoperandi

    caseloweraz, puns are the lowest form of humor. Luckily, I lost the part of my brain that processes puns back in the war, when I threw myself on a Hun grenade to save my squad. Or maybe it was the 1970s and I threw myself in front of a Ford Granada for insurance fraud.

    Either way, the result is the same, although only the first story gets me free drinks at the Legion Hall.

  • moarscienceplz

    As for the claim that Beck acted in good faith

    Listening to a few of his shows will sweep that one away in no time.

  • eric

    @2: this is the FBI we’re talking about. I’m guessing Beck’s lawyers were hoping the request for files would be denied and they could stick with their ‘secret evidence’ claim.

  • grumpyoldfart

    A rich, powerful, religious Republican, getting shafted by the courts in America? Not a chance! Abdulrahman Alharbi will be awarded fuck all compensation and Beck will never pay it.

  • Dr X

    Mr. Pieret knows more about these matters than I, but I imagine he’s right. This won’t get to a jury. Beck will probably settle for low 7 figures (no problem if what we hear about Beck’s wealth is true) and the plaintiff will agree to say nothing further about the matter.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    modus, just how many bands are you in? And do you play bar mitzvahs?

  • Modusoperandi

    sigurd jorsalfar, I’m in all the bands. And we do play bar mitzvahs, but I should warn you that all my motorcycle gangs provide security.