Former Trump Spokesman Ordered To Pay $42,000 To Gizmodo After Losing His Bogus Defamation Lawsuit

from the windmill-jousting-a-surprisingly-expensive-sport dept

A former Trump spokesman has reached the end of his always-doomed attempt to sue an online publication for reporting on the content of court documents. And it's going to cost him about $42,000 in legal fees.

Jason Miller was understandably disturbed when the now-defunct Splinter (owned by Gizmodo) wrote about allegations made by another Trump campaign staffer, A.J. Delgado. These allegations were made public during unrelated court proceedings. And they're pretty disturbing.

On Friday, September 14, 2018, Ms. Delgado filed a supplement to an earlier motion for the court to consider a psychological evaluation of Mr. Miller. Essentially, the supplement stated that Ms. Delgado was informed in the summer of 2018 that Mr. Miller (while married) had an affair in 2012 with a stripper in Florida referred to as Jane Doe; that Mr. Miller had sexual intercourse with Ms. Doe; that Ms. Doe became pregnant; that Mr. Miller visited Ms. Doe and gave her a beverage which, unbeknownst to her, contained an abortion pill; that Ms. Doe wound up in a hospital emergency room, bleeding heavily, and almost went into a coma; that the pill induced an abortion; and that Ms. Doe’s unborn child died. The supplement identified Ms. Delgado’s initial source for this information and stated that Ms. Doe had later confirmed the story to a journalist.

Splinter reported on these allegations, linking to the filed document. The supplement was later sealed, but that move couldn't undo the reporting. Neither could Miller's litigation.

He was first rejected at the district level. The court cited New York state law (where Splinter was located) as protecting journalists from being sued for reporting on allegations made in court filings. Furthermore, it pointed to Splinter's posting of the filing itself as being instrumental to its fair reporting defense. ALWAYS POST DOCUMENTS, folks.

Miller's appeal went no better. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court's filings, both in terms of the First Amendment and New York state law. Anyone reading the filing posted by Splinter was free to draw their own conclusions from the sworn statements. A post-publication sealing by the court doesn't suddenly make the contents of the documents privileged or any legitimate basis for a defamation lawsuit.

With the appeal going in favor of Splinter, the case has returned to the Florida court. And the lower court says [PDF] Miller is on the hook for legal fees.

Judgment in the amount of $41,868.23, reflecting costs incurred by Defendants at both the district court and appellate court levels, is entered against Plaintiff in accordance with the terms of the Stipulation.

That expense will be in addition to whatever Miller paid to engage in the fruitless litigation. If it's said in court and made publicly available by the clerk -- even temporarily -- it's fair game for reporting.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: anti-slapp, attorneys fees, defamation, fair reporting privilege, jason miller, reporting, slapp
Companies: gizmodo, splinter


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread


  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 25 May 2021 @ 10:54am

    Maybe its just me but...
    If you are married you shouldn't have a sidepiece, not use a condom, secretly abort the child, tell others about what you did, then pretend it was all fake news when it was filed with a court.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 25 May 2021 @ 10:59am

      Re:

      Trump only hires the best cheating, secret, undercover abortionists.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 26 May 2021 @ 1:01am

      Re:

      Yes, well, what can we say. Trump only hired the best people. It's not his fault all the best people happened to be compulsive liars, poisoners, serial adulterers, white supremacists and open fascists.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    rebrad (profile), 25 May 2021 @ 11:04am

    Move On

    Too many people in the media are obsessed and have someone dwelling in their head. It must be a truly sad world to live in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jordan, 25 May 2021 @ 11:06am

    Jane Doe

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2021 @ 11:21am

    Always an A.J. at the center of these former Nick Denton blog lawsuits.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 25 May 2021 @ 11:23am

    Ms. Doe became pregnant; that Mr. Miller visited Ms. Doe and gave her a beverage which, unbeknownst to her, contained an abortion pill; that Ms. Doe wound up in a hospital emergency room, bleeding heavily, and almost went into a coma; that the pill induced an abortion; and that Ms. Doe’s unborn child died.

    To anyone that understands the fact that Republicans' forced-birth movement was always and ever 100% about control over and torturing women, and 0% pro-life, this story isn't so unsurprising.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2021 @ 11:29am

    Only 42,000 for defenses both in district and appellate courts? He must have gotten quite some bargain in his lawyer! Or... He's getting only a portion of the total cost.

    ... and of course, those days of his life are gone forever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2021 @ 4:01pm

    Why isn't Miller facing criminal charges?

    Yeah, this woman was a stripper and took drugs, so is her life worthless? What if she had died?

    This guy is a psycho and should be in prison.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      BG (profile), 26 May 2021 @ 4:34am

      Re:

      Agreed. This is assault at a minimum. Arguably aggravated assault or whatever the US equivalent is. Round it off with illegally administering medication without a license.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat

Warning: include(/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_promo_discord_chat.inc): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_module_promo.inc on line 8

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_promo_discord_chat.inc' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/share/pear:/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395:/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/..') in /home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_module_promo.inc on line 8
Recent Stories
.

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.