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Ex-congressman's defamation suit thrown out under SLAPP law

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  1. Libel and Privacy
A New York judge has dismissed a former congressman’s defamation suit against a person who criticized him anonymously on a…

A New York judge has dismissed a former congressman’s defamation suit against a person who criticized him anonymously on a newspaper website, The Journal News in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley reported. The court dismissed the libel claim under an anti-SLAPP statute, which protects speakers from "strategic lawsuits against public participation."

Westchester County Judge Richard B. Liebowitz granted defendant Stuart Tiekert’s request to dismiss the $1.5 million suit on Aug. 27, but denied his additional request for damages. Liebowitz ruled that the defamation suit filed by former Rep. Richard Ottinger, and his wife, June Ottinger, qualified as an SLAPP suit because Tiekert’s comments focused on the Ottingers’ allegedly corrupt activities during a legal battle with their neighbors over the construction of a house.  

A Westchester County judge previously ordered that Tiekert’s identity be released after he wrote anonymous postings on The Journal News website about the Ottingers’ influence on various local zoning boards and committees.