What Really Happened In the Settlement of David Barton’s Defamation Suit?

In an email to supporters last week, David Barton said that his historical claims had been vindicated by winning a defamation lawsuit. Barton wrote:

The more publicized of the two defamation lawsuits we won was the one where David was labeled an anti-Semite, racist, and white supremacist. But the second lawsuit we won addressed the false claims that David’s works are widely discredited, that he is an admitted liar, that he makes up his history, etc. 

What second lawsuit?

Prior to this email, Barton had told audiences that his historical claims had been vindicated by the lawsuit he settled with Judy Jennings and Rebecca Bell-Metereau. However, I demonstrated that the only publicized judgment on that case did not mention his historical claims but did admit that he was not a white supremacist. Here is the apology from Jennings and Bell-Metereau that was filed as a result of the settlement of Barton’s suit against them:

During our respective campaigns in 2010 for separate positions on the Texas State Board of Education, we published a video entitled: ”A True Tale From Texas,” that created a false impression about David Barton. The purpose of that video was to discredit our Republican Party political opponents on the State Board of Education, and those on whom they relied, by depicting their position as politically extreme and detrimental to education. Thus, the video stated that David Barton, who advised the State Board of Education, is known for speaking at white supremacist rallies. We believed that statement had been fact-checked by our political consultant, Scott Garrison, who relied for confirmation solely on information provided him from The Texas Freedom Network. As professionals in education and the proper use of language, we understand that this statement suggested that David Barton is a white supremacist, and that the two organizations he is affiliated with, WallBuilder Presentations, Inc. and WallBuilders L.L.C., were associated with or supportive of white supremacists. After learning more about Mr. Barton, we realize this statement was false. We separately and jointly apologize to Mr. Barton for damage to him individually and to his two organizations as a result of that statement.

And then here is what Barton said about that apology to Sons of Liberty radio on January 30, 2015:

So after that having gone on for a number of years, we decided to take some folks into court on those two major claims, that we make up our history and it’s all inaccurate and that we’re white supremacists and anti-semitic. And going through the court process, we went all the way to the Texas Supreme Court and came back to District Court, and at that point, the folks settled the case and the court entered a large judgment with a validation of, no the defendants admit that he is not a racist, he’s not anti-semitic, he doesn’t make up his history, and so that’s what we were after was getting some validation that allows us to push back on them when they start telling people  you can’t trust Barton because he makes up all his history. No, you can trust him because here’s the original documents posted on the website.

He made it sound like the apology included vindication of his historical claims. However, the apology only covers the white supremacy charge.

Now Barton says he won a second lawsuit about his historical claims. In the email, Barton asked his supporters to go on blogs and websites and take up for him. As a reference, Barton linked to a World Net Daily article by John Aman on his settlement. In that article, Aman says Barton won a second lawsuit.

Aman wrote:

Barton also won in court against W.S. Smith, a self-described atheist who published an online article in 2010 calling Barton “an admitted liar” whose “books have been picked apart time and again and exposed as fallacious.”

Smith was a no-show throughout the lawsuit, disappearing shortly after Barton sued him in September 2011. Barton’s legal team hired a private detective and published notices in Texas newspapers statewide in an unsuccessful attempt to find the elusive writer.

Smith disappeared after he boasted, in an email to Huffington Post columnist Chris Rodda that he was “happy to meet” Barton in court “because the truth in [sic] on my side.”

“If this is what you want, Mr. Barton, then let’s do it,” Smith said. “Bring it on. Bring it on. Bring it on. The path you’ve chosen will lead only to your embarrassment and ruin.”

Three years later, a Texas court found Smith’s assertions about David Barton both false and defamatory.

A review of Parker County, TX court records tells a different story. Something does not add up.

The W.S. Smith mentioned by Aman in WND wrote an article for Examiner.com where he contested Barton’s veracity. However, according to Aman, Smith went into hiding. Thus, it is unclear how Barton could win a lawsuit against Smith if Smith could not be found. In fact, Parker County, TX records show that the suit against Smith was dismissed by Barton on April 18, 2012. There was no judgment against Smith according to these records. See below:

BartonCaseSmithDismissed

“Notice of Partial Non-Suit” means that Barton dismissed his case against Smith but not the other two defendants. Note that there was no judgment (“Judgment Amt. 0.00”). A search of the Parker County records only shows two cases, one initially involving Smith with the dismissal noted, and another just involving Jennings and Bell-Metereau:

BartonParkerCoCasesRedacted

The first case (#CV11-1349) is the case where W.S. Smith is first named as a defendant but then later dropped from the case. It was filed on 9/1/2011. The second case (#CV14-0922) was filed just against Jennings and Bell-Metereau, probably for the purpose of settlement. Note that the second case does not have W.S. Smith’s name on it. Smith was dismissed from the first case and not a part of the second.

Barton has now claimed that he won a second case; WND said the same thing. Where is the case? Who was involved? The Parker County records don’t support the narrative in Barton’s email or the WND article.

In a future post I will examine whether or not Barton really won a million dollars.

To find the cases, go to Parker County’s website portal to look up judicial records (link). Click “Civil Records” and then you will come to a search screen. Enter David Barton’s name and click “Search.” You will come to the screen that looks like the image just above. Click on the case links corresponding to the Wallbuilder Presentations, etc. versus the defendants.

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