OAN Forced to Pay MSNBC $250,000 After Losing Appeal in Defamation Suit Against Rachel Maddow

 One American News (OAN) has faced another loss in their legal battle against MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. 

On Tuesday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a previous court ruling that determined Maddow’s statements regarding the far-right, pro-Donald Trump network were not actionable.

OAN, owned by Herring Networks, first sued Maddow for $10 million in 2019 after the anchor labeled the network as “paid Russian propaganda.”

The suit slammed her comments as “malicious and utterly false,” despite the fact that they were based on a Daily Beast report that noted OAN employs reporter Kristian Rouz, who also worked for Kremlin-owned media outlet Sputnik.

“We literally learned today that that outlet the President is promoting shares staff with the Kremlin,” Maddow said following news of the Beast’s report, adding, “In this case, the most obsequiously pro-Trump right wing news outlet in America really literally is paid Russian propaganda. Their on-air U.S. politics reporter is paid by the Russian government to produce propaganda for that government.”

OAN maintained, however, that the network “is wholly financed by the Herrings, an American family” and “has never been paid or received a penny from Russia or the Russian government,” justifying their defamation suit.

A federal judge dismissed the suit in May 2020, concluding that Maddow’s statement was “an opinion that cannot serve as the basis for a defamation claim.”

“Plaintiff has not shown a probability of succeeding on its defamation claims, thus, the Court GRANTS Defendants’ Special Motion to Strike,” added Judge Allison Goddard. “Finally, because the Court grants the Motion, Defendants may file a motion for attorney’s fees and costs.”

Following through with judge’s grant, MSNBC and Maddow requested that OAN pay $350,000 in legal fees. In February, the court permanently dismissed the case and awarded the defendants $247,667.50.

Despite the ruling, OAN president Charles Herring was “highly confident” that the network would “receive a favorable and just ruling in the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.”

Well, Herring’s prediction was off the mark, as — in a 3-0 decision — the 9th Circuit maintained that Maddow’s statement “was well within the bounds of what qualified as protected speech under the First Amendment.”

“The challenged statement was an obvious exaggeration, cushioned within an undisputed news story,” said Judge Milan D. Smith Jr., adding, “The statement could not reasonably be understood to imply an assertion of objective fact, and therefore, did not amount to defamation.”

MSNBC and Maddow also won on an anti-SLAPP motion, meaning they are entitled to the court-approved $250,000 in legal fees.

According to First Amendment lawyer Adam Steinbaugh, OAN may end up paying even more, as they dragged out the process with an appeal:

“OAN predictably loses its appeal in its defamation lawsuit against Rachel Maddow,” he wrote in a Tuesday tweet. “Will wind up paying even more of Maddow’s attorneys fees.”

OAN Forced to Pay MSNBC $250,000 After Losing Appeal in Defamation Suit Against Rachel Maddow OAN Forced to Pay MSNBC $250,000 After Losing Appeal in Defamation Suit Against Rachel Maddow Reviewed by CUZZ BLUE on August 18, 2021 Rating: 5

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