Saturday, February 1, 2014

Crystal Cox Extortion Allegations; Anti-Corruption Blogger Crystal Cox FIGHTS BACK Against Extortion Allegations in Judicial Ruling

Anti-Corruption Blogger Crystal Cox FIGHTS BACK, against Federal Appellate Judges Stating;


“Cox apparently has a history of making similar allegations 
and seeking payoffs in exchange for retraction”

Cox has not been found guilty by a court of law, had a formal investigation nor any kind of due process on extortion allegations. Therefore an esteemed, highly "reliable source" such as a 3 Judges on an Appellate Panel, should not make allegations of speculated crimes of the Defendant, especially quoting a New York Times journalist as the source of said opinion, or allegations.

I have NO ISSUE with those Speaking Critical of Me, that is your Constitutional Right.

I do not care about being personally Criticized, 
I care about
 Judges obeying the Law and obeying the 
Constitution of the United States of Amerca. 

It is one thing for a journalist and a blogger to have equal rights in reporting the news, this is important. However when corruption stories are told or "broke" by these outlets, the authorities then need to perform a formal investigation before a judicial ruling makes those same allegations, as a MATTER OF LAW and Legal Precedent.

I Don't Care Who Likes Me and Who Does Not. 

I care about our Judges obeying the Law, 
and Respecting our Constitutional Rights.

Speak Critical of me If You must, oh well. I need no support from the masses. This is a Spiritual mission for me. And I will not be silent as to this matter. If I am silent then all anti-corruption bloggers are easily silenced by overreaching Judicial Rulings that accuse them of bad or illegal behavior as a matter of law, in a court of law and with no judicial process, due process, in a court of law. And do so, seemingly, to cover up the very corruption in which those anti-corruption bloggers are exposing in the first place.

Crystal Cox via her attorney Eugene Volokh, UCLA Constitutional Law Profess filed a Motion to Rehear / A motion to REDACT the allegations against Cox that are hearsay and rumor maliciously reported by New York Times Journalist David Carr. 

To Read this Motion; Click Below
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bzn2NurXrSkib1NraEFFb1Rac2M/edit

Eugene Volokh
A Few Quotes from Eugene Volokh's Motion to Rehear;

"A judicial assertion of misconduct by a named person, even a judicial assertion modified with the word “apparently,” might be based on the record in a case, or on authoritative findings by another court. 

But it ought not be based on a newspaper column, which was written without the benefit of cross-examination, sworn testimony, or the other safeguards of the civil justice process. The claims in the columnist’s assertion are neither facts found by a fact finder nor facts subject to judicial notice under Fed. R. Evid. 201.

Moreover, while the New York Times article does discuss Cox’s offering her consulting services to appellees in this case, it does not make any such allegations about other cases.

There thus seems to be no “history” of seeking money claimed in the article. The “history” that the column is positing appears to be only a history of Cox’s “making similar allegations.”

Unfortunately but unsurprisingly, some media outlets have not only repeated this sentence, but even omitted the term “apparently” in doing so.

The widely reprinted Reuters wire service, for instance, wrote, According to the court’s opinion, Cox has a history of making allegations of fraud and other illegal activities “and seeking payoffs in exchange for retraction.”

Dan Levine, Blogger Gets Same Speech Protections as Traditional Press: U.S. Court, Reuters, Jan. 17, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/‌17/‌us-usa-blogger-ruling-idUSBREA0G1HI20140117; see also, e.g., http://‌www.‌nbcnews.com/id/54102454/ns/technology_and_science-tech_‌and_‌gadgets/ (NBC News republication of the Reuters article).

Of course, some such media misstatements are inevitable. Still, they highlight the fact that, when a statement is made in a Court of Appeals opinion—with the authority such opinions possess—journalists might perceive the statement as a factual finding, and not just a report of what a newspaper column has alleged.

Judicial opinions are perceived as extraordinarily reliable sources of information.

This reliability stems from the assumption that statements in the opinion, especially statements that allege misconduct, generally rest on adjudicated facts.

Because of this, Cox respectfully requests that this particular allegation, which rests solely on a claim made in a newspaper column, be redacted from the opinion."

Link to "Motion to Rehear" Filed by Eugene Volokh;
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bzn2NurXrSkib1NraEFFb1Rac2M/edit?usp=sharing


Crystal L. Cox, Online Statement regarding and in support of the Motion to Rehear, to Clarify or Redact Courts statement, “Cox apparently has a history of making similar allegations and seeking payoffs in exchange for retraction” and the surrounding media and corruption.
Click Below
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Sfa6KPy3ur6pBOcUF64CfvRFKM-n0ASMWhpUPC4G43Q/edit

Extortion was not part of the Lower Court Case, nor "of record". It has NO business in a Ninth Circuit Appellate Ruling when it was not a factor of the case, whatsoever.

This is where the proverbial rubber hits the road Folks. 

Crystal Cox has NEVER alleged criminal activity without documents, interviews, court hearings, court motions, and lot's of documented evidence posted on her blogs and linking to the source of that information. 

Yes, I cuss, yes I have my own style. NO I have not accused the innocent of "bad behavior" EVER. And I have never sought a pay off to retract any allegations nor will I ever. 

The goal, the mission per say, is to get criminal investigations and to give a voice to the victims of corrupt attorneys, judges, commissioners, corporations and corruption as a whole, that have documents of proof. Not to accuse innocents and ask for money. That is a LIE painted out by those who wish to silence me, and discredit the stories in which I am trying to draw attention to. 

If you want to believe your favorite blogger or big media newspaper, go ahead, that is your free will and constitutional right.  However, if you really are a journalist, a researcher, and an Investigative Blogger then do your homework. Investigate the allegations I have posted against hundreds over the last 10 years. Investigate the entire Summit Bankruptcy case and make up your own mind. And investigate the extortion allegations, find factual evidence in all of this, DO NOT simply believe Forbes, the New York Times or in this case an overreaching Judicial Ruling that gives Equality to blogger while at the same time using a New York Times article to discredit, slander and accuse the blogger of criminal activiity.

I am asking for a retraction, as a matter of law and constitutional rights of ALL who expose corruption and are often put under extreme prejudice and duress by the very legal system they are claiming is corrupt in some way. 


I allege crimes that I truly have researched and truly do believe have been committed. And I do NOT ask for a payoff to retract those allegations that I 100% believe to be true. For over 9 years now, I have studied  inside tips,documents, court cases, videos, emails, hearings, and I have not alleged criminal activity that has nothing to back it up, NOT EVER. 

Nor have I accused people of crimes with nothing to go on at all. And CERTAINLY I have not give my life to exposing crime in order to seek a measly $2500 a month pay off to extort or blackmail the criminal (bad guy) I am earnestly trying to expose and get justice for their victims.  An email during a legal battle, sent in my Pro Se capacity as a settlement offer, is called extortion by the masses and is certainly NOT evidence against me, that is based in any kind of fact.

I have dedicated my life to this. I am penniless, live in Church housing and eat due to the generosity of the Church. I made this stand to fight for the victims of corruption and give power to the anti-corruption bloggers exposing corruption. To me this is a basic human right, a civil right and absolutely necessary in a truly Free society striving for Justice for All. 

I have given to much, witnessed so much suffering. And at this point I do not intend to let the lie stand in place of the Truth, to the best of my ability.

These crimes are happening, these victims, these stories are real, and I have not simply been half hazardly alleging or accusing innocent "victims. 

Asking for a Ninth Circuit Redaction is based in a Matter of Law and Constitutional Rights plain and simple. I ask this for the rights of all Citizen Journalists, Whistle Blowers, and Anti-Corruption Bloggers out there trying to expose corruption and being shut down by lawyers, judges and the judicial process as a whole.

If the Ninth Circuit Judges DENY this request for true equality as Matter of Law and Constitutional Rights, then they do. However, I have at least asked the question. And we will soon know if it is a Ninth Circuit Ruling / Judicial Opinion that the New York Times is FACT, is documented evidence that can be used against all people as a matter of LAW, with no fact checking by the Ninth Circuit as to the allegations made by a New York Times reporter.

If the Ninth Circuit Appellate court gives the New York Times this kind of power as a Matter of LAW and Constitutional Rights, then what good is this amazing ruling that levels the playing field for all Citizen Journalists, Whistle Blowers, and Anti-Corruption Bloggers, equal to that of the New York Times, Forbes, USA Today, Reuters and other high powered corporate media outlets.

If the Ninth Circuit Judges say its lawful for Federal Judges to accuse people of crimes in a Judicial Ruling, as a Matter of LAW, based on the New York Times saying so, well there you have it, then its LAW.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Blogger Crystal Cox, Ninth Circuit; Quotes from around the Blogsphere regarding the recent WIN for ALL Citizen Journalists, Whistle Blowers and Anti-Corruption Bloggers.

Major First Amendment / Free Speech Ruling Levels the Playing Field as to who is the "NEWS" and who is protected in our courts to report the "NEWS.

Reverend Crystal Cox
Crystal L. Cox, Port Townsend Washington

"On January 17, 2014, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Crystal L. Cox from Eureka, Montana who was sued by for defamation by Kevin Padrick, an attorney and his company - Obsidian Finance Group, LLC. Cox had written posts exposing fraud, corruption, money-laundering and so forth."

"This ruling should be a clear reminder to misguided attorneys, corporations, developers or those with affluence to cease bullying or intimidating those who report the issues of the day.

Many concerned citizens have no choice but to create their own blogs and websites to level the playing field in this blossoming social media warfare.

The government has its plentiful public relations specialists, paid for by taxpayers. Corporations and special interests have their hired PR consultants. There are hired mercenaries who feel no qualms about spinning the facts. News media can be bought or controlled by big money or shut down.

It's not uncommon for the public to read articles or watch the TV news only to lament the irregularities or inadequate reporting. Oftentimes, critical issues are shunned or ignored by corporate media because of entwined relationships.

Bloggers with information or have intimate experiences and understanding of issues are critically needed now, more than ever."

source
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/choon-james/confirmed-bloggers-have-f_b_4657313.html



"In a major free-speech ruling, the Ninth Circuit decreed that bloggers have the same First Amendment rights as the institutional, commercial press. The ruling demolishes the argument that in the eyes of the law, bloggers are not journalists."
Source
http://blog.larrybodine.com/2014/01/articles/blogging/bloggers-have-same-first-amendment-rights-as-the-press/index.html



"Kudos to Free Speech Warriors - Crystal L. Cox and Eugene Volokh!
A big mahalo to Crystal L. Cox and Eugene Volokh for their 
valiant efforts to protect free press and free speech!"
Source
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/choon-james/confirmed-bloggers-have-f_b_4657313.html



"This case is important to the future of citizen journalism because of the crusade against freedom of speech being perpetrated by members of Congress."
Source
http://www.redicecreations.com/article.php?id=28602




“This case is the first one from a federal court of appeals that specifically protects the rights of bloggers,” said UCLA constitutional law professor Eugene Volokh, who represented Cox without charge on appeal. He said the ruling would also protect other individuals, including those who leaflet and who speak out on behalf of politicians or activist groups."
Source
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-blogger-1st-amendment-20140117,0,5295817.story#ixzz2qi1Ry9yi


"It's not a special right to the news media," he said.  
"So it's a good thing for bloggers and citizen journalists and others."
Source


"Bloggers who are accused of libel are entitled to the same rights as members of the mainstream media, an appeals court has ruled."

AND

"The decision, viewed as a sweeping victory for bloggers, reversed a $2.5 million libel verdict against Crystal Cox. A three-judge appellate panel returned the case to the U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore. for a new trial."

Source
http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/217704/court-grants-bloggers-same-protections-as-mainstre.html

"A website that castigates others as "evil doers" and "thugs" has exactly the same First Amendment protection as USA TODAY and The New York Times — and that's a good thing.

In a landmark decision on Friday, a federal appellate court held for the first time that blogs enjoy the same First Amendment protection from libel suits as traditional news media."

"Speech doesn't get much more free than blogs and comments on websites, and long-established principles protecting opinion and hyperbole help to keep it that way. In this case, the 9th Circuit upheld a lower court's decision to toss out other libel claims against Cox, despite her assertions that her targets engaged in corruption, fraud, deceit, money laundering, harassment and illegal activity."
Source
http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/01/21/first-amendment-blogging-scotus-column/4733781/


"The Court stated,  The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable.”

They went on to cite cases in which individual speakers have been granted First Amendment rights, despite not being a part of the established press. For example, the First Amendment rights of authors have often been protected, regardless of their training, background, or affiliations.

"This is very good news for anyone who has a blog or even a desire to post things in an individual capacity on their social network. 

It could also go a far way for advocacy groups that work unofficially for candidates and their rights to create media alleging things against candidates. It could also have important ramifications for blogging in other lawsuits.

For example, if a blogger is treated as a journalist for the purposes of the First Amendment, they could also be treated as a journalist in a matter like protection of sources."
Source
http://lawstreetmedia.com/news/headlines/court-says-bloggers-are-journalists-too/


"Who is a journalist?

Who has a few membership card, who works for a media outlet or television station recorded, or simply those who provide information ?

In the Internet age, where everyone has the opportunity to publish on a blog or a site's own thoughts, it is not an idle question, because those who fall within the definition of "journalists" often have more legal protections than the ordinary citizen . 

Not so in the U.S., where a California court has ruled on Friday that even non-professionals, provided indent topics of public interest , are entitled to legal protection afforded to journalists under the First Amendment. In case they are sued for defamation, it is therefore the plaintiff prove that certain statements have been made ​​in bad faith and that as a result of them, has suffered a loss of some kind."
Source
http://www.wired.it/internet/regole/2014/01/22/usa-blogger-equiparati-a-giornalisti/




Mainstream Media not Only Rejoiced at the Conviction of Cox in the First Place, but Forbes and the New York Times, as well as NPR set out to publicly flog Blogger Crystal Cox.

"a symbolic value as a precedent . As noted Matthew Ingram of GigaOm, the same protection granted to Cox could benefit, in case of need, the personality of a very different caliber, as the staff of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, and in general, all the "deep throats" that reveal secrets about Internet, as long stretches of information relevant to the community .

It is likely that the Court's decision does not like the media to members of the establishment who had rejoiced at the conviction of Cox in the first degree. "
http://www.wired.it/internet/regole/2014/01/22/usa-blogger-equiparati-a-giornalisti/


"An appeals court has struck a blow for free speech and freedom of the press by ruling that First Amendment protection should be available to bloggers, regardless of whether they fit the definition of who qualifies as a journalist."

"When Montana blogger Crystal Cox lost her defamation case in 2011, the decision was greeted by a chorus of cheers from journalists, who were quick to argue that Cox wasn’t a journalist in any real sense of the word, and therefore didn’t deserve any protection from the First Amendment. 

An appeals court for the Ninth Circuit has disagreed, however: on Friday, a panel of judges overturned the original decision and said that Cox was in fact entitled to protection.

The implications of this ruling go beyond just a single defamation case. It’s another link in a chain of decisions that are gradually helping to extend the principle of free-speech protection beyond professional journalism to anyone who is publishing information with public value — and as such, it helps shift the focus away from trying to define who is a journalist and puts it where it should be: on protecting the practice of journalism, broadly defined.

Legislators who have been trying to design a “shield law” for journalists have been doing their best to specify who should be protected from government interference, but as journalism professor Jay Rosen and others have argued, it is the content itself that requires protecting, not some specific group of professional journalists who are able to fill in the correct checkboxes."
Source
http://gigaom.com/2014/01/19/on-free-speech-and-blogging-the-first-amendment-applies-to-everyone-not-just-journalists/


"A blogger—and, really, the public at large—has the same protections for free speech in the United State as a traditional journalist and can only lose a defamation lawsuit on an issue of public concern if plaintiffs manage to prove negligence."
Source
http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2014/01/18/crystal_cox_bloggers_have_same_free_speech_protections_as_traditional_journalists.html

"Last week, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the same standards that apply to journalists in print media also apply to bloggers and anyone else. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press member Gregg Leslie said, “it’s not a special right to the news media. So it’s a good thing for bloggers and citizen journalists and others.”

Source
http://lawstreetmedia.com/news/headlines/court-says-bloggers-are-journalists-too/



"This is an important ruling given the efforts by government – most notably Congress, last year – to define what a journalist is and, through that definition, exclude from legal protections people who may not be journalists by avocation but commit the act of journalism."

"It’s scary to think of the government as the final arbiter of what separates a real journalist from a fake on"

Source
http://sayanythingblog.com/entry/protections-first-amendment-turn-whether-defendant-trained-journalist/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SayAnything+%28Say+Anything%29


"This case is the first one from a federal court of appeals that specifically protects the rights of bloggers,” said UCLA constitutional law professor Eugene Volokh, who represented Cox without charge on appeal.

He said the ruling would also protect other individuals, including those who leaflet and who speak out on behalf of politicians or activist groups."
Source
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-blogger-1st-amendment-20140117,0,5295817.story#axzz2qhoYlHZR


"A federal appellate court ruled Friday that the author of a blog post deserves the same treatment in a defamation case as "institutional media."
Source
http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2014/01/appeals-court-rules-blogger-press-get-same-protections-181447.html?hp=r3

"It's not a special right to the news media," he said.
 "So it's a good thing for bloggers and citizen journalists and others."

""It makes clear that bloggers have the same First Amendment rights as professional journalists," he said. "There had been similar precedents before concerning advocacy groups, other writers and book authors. This follows a fairly well established chain of precedents. I believe it is the first federal appeals court level ruling that applies to bloggers."
Source
http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/240917881.html

"a case involving a blogger crusading against what she saw as fraud in a bankruptcy-counseling firm, a judge ruled that the plaintiffs in the libel suit did not have to prove malice to win punitive damages.
http://hotair.com/archives/2014/01/18/9th-circuit-first-amendment-media-protections-apply-to-bloggers-too/

“The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on 
whether the defendant was a trained journalist”
http://sayanythingblog.com/entry/protections-first-amendment-turn-whether-defendant-trained-journalist/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SayAnything+%28Say+Anything%29

Did you know that if you're a blogger and someone tries chill your speech with defamation law, your rights are protected by the First Amendment?
http://www.slyck.com/story2272_Court_of_Appeals_Reconfirms_that_Bloggers_have_First_Amendment_Rights

"Obsidian is a major win for individuals who blog, share, tweet and otherwise publish their views online. While the Court initially framed the question as “What First Amendment protections are afforded a blogger sued for defamation?” (emphasis added), its decision applies the First Amendment protections it has bestowed on “institutional media” to all “individual speakers” or “other speakers.” 

The Court stated that the applicability of such protections does not turn on “whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story.”

Under this reasoning, an individual blogger, website operator or social media users speaking publicly on the Internet enjoys the same First Amendment protections from defamation claims as traditional media publishers.

At the same time, the Ninth Circuit’s affirmance of the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ claims as to most of Cox’s statements continues a judicial trend of taking the context and atmosphere of the Internet into account in distinguishing opinions from factual statements. "
Source
http://www.dwt.com/Blurred-Lines-Ninth-Circuit-Applies-Same-First-Amendment-Protections-to-Bloggers-as-Traditional-Media-01-23-2014/

"The Founding Fathers Would Be Pleased
I have quoted large portions of the opinion because I think that Judge Hurwitz wrote a masterful opinion and said it better than I could have. In my view, this opinion is an important contribution to First Amendment jurisprudence in the internet age.

The District Court's ruling appeared to be based on the elitist construct that only the professional media are entitled to speak on matters of public concern. 

It is my belief that the founding fathers, who were well acquainted with the pamphleteering of citizen journalists, would have been appalled at the District Court's attempt to distinguish between speakers instead of speech. In case I haven't been entirely clear, the Ninth Circuit corrected an egregiously misbegotten ruling from the lower court."

http://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/bankruptcy/b/bankruptcy-law-blog/archive/2014/01/23/ninth-circuit-gives-some-protection-to-both-bloggers-and-trustees.aspx


"The Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals has ruled that bloggers enjoy the same journalistic protections as traditional print and broadcast media when commenting on matters of public concern. "

"..up until now there was no clear rule on which legal standard should apply when bloggers and other new media were sued for vague ‘presumed damages’ for defamation. "

"The 9th Circuit ruled that bloggers are treated as full journalists for purposes of defamation laws. "
"This case makes it clear that when bloggers like TTAG report on matters of public concern like gun control, they can’t be silenced by lawsuits from pissed-off plaintiffs unless they prove the bloggers were more than just wrong. " "It’s a good thing that we’ll be treated the same from here on out."
http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/01/chris-dumm/ninth-circuit-affirms-bloggers-journalists-matters/

"A Win for Bloggers and The First Amendment’s Protection of Citizens’ Freedom of Speech"
http://www.minnesota-litigator.com/2014/01/18/win-bloggers-amendments-protection-citizens-freedom-speech/


"But before last week, no federal judge or court had ever specifically ruled that bloggers or personal freelance writers were protected by the same rules."

"The ruling will set a strong precedent that enables a broader practice of the freedom of speech and gives bloggers long-overdue responsibilities."
Source
http://ucsdguardian.org/?p=16596


" Blogging around America just received vindication and respect, as the 9th Circuit overturned a lower federal court ruling yanking away 1st Amendment protections for Blogger Crystal Cox. The 9th Circuit said the issues she raised IS OF PUBLIC Interest and that Crystal Cox is entitled to "Freedom of the Press" protections."

"   Special interests and main stream media know they are at risk in their dominance and propaganda efforts, due to contemporary social media outlets. - Facebook, Twitter, Blogs etc., etc., ARE the real main stream media outlets of modern day."

Source
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/01/20/1271130/-JT-s-Blog-9th-Cir-Reversal-Crystal-Blog-Entitled-to-Freedom-of-Press-Protection#


"An appeals court has struck a blow for free speech and freedom of the press by ruling that First Amendment protection should be available to bloggers, regardless of whether they fit the definition of who qualifies as a journalist."

"When Montana blogger Crystal Cox lost her defamation case in 2011, the decision was greeted by a chorus of cheers from journalists, who were quick to argue that Cox wasn’t a journalist in any real sense of the word, and therefore didn’t deserve any protection from the First Amendment. An appeals court for the Ninth Circuit has disagreed, however: on Friday, a panel of judges overturned the original decision and said that Cox was in fact entitled to protection."

Source
http://gigaom.com/2014/01/19/on-free-speech-and-blogging-the-first-amendment-applies-to-everyone-not-just-journalists/

"Wow, what an amazing, crystal clear victory for the blogger!"

" if a blogger gets sued for defamation, and settles, there is NO LEGAL PRECEDENT, AND NO DEFINITIVE RULING. The ONLY way the case law changes is when a blogger courageously steps up and commits "

In short, the trial judge REJECTED the notion that blogger is entitled to any sort of journalistic protection.
Does that not sound like the same, tired meme from the legacy media, trying to protect the crippled, failing fiat ponzi scheme of the broken federal reserve system? Entrenched, legacy bureaucrats protecting THEIR tired, worn system at all costs, is that not readily apparent? Newspapers? What’s that? Blogging?
We ARE IT, and it is time the old school judges and legacy media embrace us."

"The Court then delivered a stunning victory to the blogger:

“We therefore hold that the Gertz negligence requirement for private defamation actions is not limited to cases with institutional media defendants.”

This means that a private, basement-dwelling blogger or contributor, cannot be successfully sued under a strict liability standard, that is, for simply making the false statement of fact.

Instead, the blogger must be shown to have made the statement on the basis that the blogger knew, or should have known of the falsity of the statement. This is a HUGE victory for internet bloggers on this point alone."

"We should all rejoice at the 9th Circuit’s opinion, since at this point, it is beyond dispute that what we talk about here, metals, manipulation, currencies, central banking, all of it, are matters of public concern. "
"What an utter waste of time and money, only to end up with the blogger not only winning, but convincingly so, and paving the way for the rest of the blogging community to enjoy freedom in posting with lessened fear of being sued! Hooray is what I say!"

Source
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/3115701/posts



"A VICTORY for All Independent Bloggers, 
God Bless You Crystal – Word of God . . . Speak. Amen!!" 

"Crystal has done some amazing work exposing the Truth about these criminals and their far reaching agendas being played out throughout our judicial system today!"

"This is truly a judicial victory for The People and a slap in the face of those who call themselves professional journalists and think they have rights to special privilege. The Free Press is about reporting to The People the facts and the truths that others attempt to hide, exploit and manipulate. This ruling says you haven’t been doing your job for some time now so it’s time for The People to take over.

Thank you, Dear Lord, for giving us this victory which brings The People closer to the Truth and Justice You promised us all. May You have mercy on their souls as Your Justice Reigns over all. Amen!"

Source
http://porninthevalley.com/2014/01/26/victory-independent-bloggers-god-bless-crystal-word-god-speak-amen/

""A defamation award against a blogger was overturned via a unanimous vote by a federal appeals court on Friday, according to The Los Angeles Times. The court ruled that those who post on the internet are afforded the same 1st Amendment rights that protect the traditional news media."
http://www.jdjournal.com/2014/01/21/appeals-court-rules-blogger-protected-by-1st-amendment-rights/#


"A blogger is afforded the same First Amendment protections as the institutional press, so liability for private defamation cannot be found unless a blogger acts negligently in making statements on matters of public concern, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled."
http://www.metnews.com/articles/2014/blog012114.htm


"In light of a growing choir of Julian Assanges and Edward Snowdens, the reality is that everyone has a right to be heard."
http://www.mintpressnews.com/brief-appeals-court-rules-bloggers-speech-protections-journalists/177391/


"This ruling is very important as it relates to this era of online content and reporting, as it is first of its kind in the 9th Circuit, though other circuit courts have held that individuals have the same free speech rights as the news media."
http://hellobeautiful.com/2014/01/28/blogger-legal-rights/

""Bloggers have long identified themselves as having the same right to express their opinions through reportage as do traditional journalists writing for newspapers, AKA “the mainstream media,” even though they may have had no formal journalistic training, and no editors or fact-checkers are around to make sure they get their facts straight.

Now, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, based here in San Francisco, apparently agrees"

http://www.steveheimoff.com/index.php/2014/01/21/on-blogging-incorrect-claims-and-the-constitution/

"Did hell just freeze over? The 9th circus just upheld the Constitution."
Comment Here
http://townhall.com/news/politics-elections/2014/01/17/court-bloggers-have-first-amendment-protections-n1780918

"The US Court of Appeals decision should make blogging as well as social media in the Philippines more alive. Freedom is power. But as Uncle Ben told Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
http://www.ellentordesillas.com/2014/01/29/roque-bloggers-enjoy-same-protection-as-journalists-2/



"Confirmed: Bloggers Have First Amendment Rights as Corporate Media"
"Kudos to Free Speech Warriors - Crystal L. Cox and Eugene Volokh!  A big mahalo to Crystal L. Cox and Eugence Volokh for their valiant efforts to protect free press and free speech!"
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/choon-james/confirmed-bloggers-have-f_b_4657313.html


The Crystal Cox Case Sets the Bar....


In January the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in Obsidian Finance Group, LLC vs Cox that bloggers were actually entitled to the same free speech protection from libel suits as traditional journalists.

The ruling now sets the bar even higher in suing a blogger or an online journalist for defamation unless it can be shown that the blogger knowingly had malice in writing and posting publicly. Courts note that they are supportive of bloggers, even when they are unpaid and untrained amateurs, particularly in matters of public, business and consumer interests."

Source and full article
http://www.bluemaumau.org/13936/freedom_press_includes_bloggers

"New Ninth Circuit Blogger Defamation Protection Case – Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox"

"This post is about the new Ninth Circuit Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox defamation/blogger case that people and businesses should know about as it is possible these days for almost everyone to widely broadcast statements and opinions.  You can also see the text version of this discussion posted below the following video.

Generally defamation is defined as a false statement of fact not opinion that is negligently made or that the person making the statement knew was false or had or should have had serious doubts about the truth of the statement.
This is a private alleged defamation case –meaning that Cox was not a journalist or a member of the institutionalized news media or press. You might be aware that different standards of proof may apply when the traditional news media or press is alleged to have committed defamation.
Importantly, the court held that it is the public-figure status of the plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue – not the identity of the speaker – that provides the First Amendment free speech protections.
The rights of the institutional media are no greater and no less than those enjoyed by other individuals engaged in the same activities.
The Court found that Cox’s alleged statements were of public concern essentially because they alleged a crime or defrauding investors, and the post was not solely in the interests of the speaker or her business audience, was published to the public at large, and was not like advertising.
This is important because the jury should have been instructed that it could not find Cox liable unless it also found that Cox acted negligently.
The Court further held that the trial court should have instructed the jury that it could not award presumed damages unless it found that Cox had acted with actual malice.
Finally, using a three-part test the Court determined that viewed as a whole the statements were not actionable assertions or impressions of objective fact as compared to opinions, figurative or hyperbolic language, or sufficiently factual in nature or susceptible of being proved true or false.
Thus, the Ninth Circuit confirmed some defenses and benefits for bloggers. But of course many of these types of cases present questions of fact to be determined by the jury where the outcome can be different in each case.
Cases involving alleged defamation are on the rise. You need to be careful with what you say.
That’s it for now.
Dave Tate, Esq.
Blog posts and videos emphasizing new developments, people’s actions, the crossover in legal, risk, governance, business, accounting and other topic areas, and what it means. Please follow this blog by clicking “Follow” to the left, and you can find my LinkedIn, Twitter and other connections by clicking on the “About This Blog, Me, And My Connections” link above and to the left. Enjoy. Dave Tate, Esq. (and inactive CPA)."
Source

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

BLOGS are the ONLY Media those Exposing Corruption Have ~ Says, Blogger Crystal Cox

Blogger Crystal Cox says; Anti-Corruption Bloggers, Citizen Journalists and Whistle Blower Bloggers having equal rights in our courts as that of traditional media, institutional press is a Human Right, a Civil Right and CRUCIAL to a truly FREE society.

"The US Court of Appeals decision should make blogging as well as social media in the Philippines more alive. Freedom is power. But as Uncle Ben told Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility"

"Two weeks ago the Ninth Circuit ruled in the case of Obsidian Finance Group v. Crystal Cox that even though someone might not write for the “institutional press,” they’re entitled to all the protections the Constitution grants journalists."

"The latest decision by a United States court on the case of blogger Crystal Cox does not say bloggers are journalists as bannered in the Atl
antic.com Lawyer Harry L. Roque’s analysis of the decision is more accurate: “Bloggers enjoy the same protection as journalists.”

Two weeks ago the Ninth Circuit ruled in the case of Obsidian Finance Group v. Crystal Cox that even though someone might not write for the “institutional press,” they’re entitled to all the protections the Constitution grants journalists.

Judge Andrew Hurwitz said, “the Court expressly noted that ‘we draw no distinction between the media respondents and’ a non-institutional respondent.’”

This is a reversal of December 2011 by a federal judge in Oregon, U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez who said Cox, who styled herself as “an investigative blogger,” was not a journalist and cannot claim the protections afforded to mainstream reporters and news outlets.

The case stemmed from the online articles by Cox against Obsidian Finance Group LLC. She reportedly called Obsidian lawyer Kevin Padrick a “thug and a thief” during the handling of bankruptcy proceedings by him and Obsidian Finance Group LLC.

Roque, in his commentary carried by VERA Files, said the dilemma is the differing definition of who is a journalist: “For instance, the United States Congress, in a draft of a Federal shield law, defines a journalist as ‘one who works for a traditional media organization for pay or gain’, a definition adopted as well by the UNESCO. This will exclude bloggers altogether from the protection of the proposed shield law.


On the hand, the Human Rights Committee in its General Comment, defines ‘it is a function shared by wide variety of actors, including professionals full time reporters and analysts, as well as bloggers and others who engage in forms of self-publications in print, on the internet, or elsewhere’”.

But, Roque said, “all these miss the point. There is protection accorded by the bill of rights not just to freedom of the press, but to freedom of expression in general. The normative values of these two freedoms are identical: to discern the truth and to facilitate “open, robust and even virulent discussion of public issues”. If both freedoms have the same normative content, why should the courts distinguish between an input to the market place of ideas coming from one who earns a living by it and one who does so anyway as a public duty?

“The US Court of Appeal’s decisions, in my view, correctly refused a distinction between institutional media and bloggers because to recognize such would also violate the equal protection clause. This is another constitutional guarantee that those similarly situated will be treated alike. Had the court limited the protection of freedom of expression to professional journalists alone, it would send the message that only professional journalists can contribute to the public debate on public issues. This is contrary to the basic tenet that freedom of expression is a human right and not just a right of journalists.

“In any case, the fact that journalists are paid and bloggers are not does not constitute a real basis for distinction. In Abrams, Holmes wrote;’the true test of truth is the power of a thought to be accepted in the market place of ideas’. Certainly, Holmes did not write that only paid journalists could contribute to this market.”

Blogging now is not limited to blogsites but also cover microblogging which includes social media – Facebook and Twitter- that have enormous following in the Philippines.

The US Court of Appeals decision should make blogging as well as social media in the Philippines more alive. Freedom is power. But as Uncle Ben told Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Source and Full Article
 http://www.ellentordesillas.com/2014/01/29/roque-bloggers-enjoy-same-protection-as-journalists-2/#sthash.sAOJSznA.dpuf  "

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"On blogging, [in]correct claims and the Constitution"

"Bloggers have long identified themselves as having the same right to express their opinions through reportage as do traditional journalists writing for newspapers, AKA “the mainstream media,” even though they may have had no formal journalistic training, and no editors or fact-checkers are around to make sure they get their facts straight.

Now, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, based here in San Francisco, apparently agrees. In a ruling that hasn’t attracted the attention it should, they threw out most of a lawsuit against a blogger, Crystal Cox, who had been sued for defamation by a investment consulting company, Obsidian Finance Group, after Cox accused them of “fraud, corruption and other misconduct” on her blog, CrystalCox.com.

A self-described “investigative blogger,” Cox, who defended herself in the lawsuit, argued [as she wrote on her blog] that “Bloggers have Equality [sic] with reporters such as the New York Times” and that, in essence, if a newspaper like the Times can make allegations against public officials or corporations, so can she, as an “Anti-Corruption Blogger[s], Whistleblower[s], and Citizen Journalist[s].”

That stance is what the Court of Appeals agreed with. The Court determined that “The protections of the 1st Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities.”

No one disagreed that Cox’s blog postings were, in the Los Angeles Times’ words, “rants [to the] extreme.” Rather, the Court ruled that, since Cox did not act with “actual malice,” she had the right to express herself.

I have no idea if Cox is correct or not; that’s not the point. But journalists and First Amendment defenders no doubt will celebrate this ruling. I do; I would not want to see a blogger self-censor herself, out of fear of being sued by a big, wealthy, bullying corporation. But this case does raise troubling questions."

Source
http://www.steveheimoff.com/index.php/2014/01/21/on-blogging-incorrect-claims-and-the-constitution/

Note: Trust No Blog nor Newspaper, read what they have to say, click on any documents and do your homework, think for yourself. It is not about who is more credible or who has an Editor to suppress them. It is about what is the TRUTH, with documents. Not just calling both sides and getting a double dose of hearsay. Crystal Cox brought over 500 pages of the source of that ONE blog post and Judge Marco Hernandez threw it out.


"9th Circuit Gives Some Protection to Both Bloggers and Trustees" "The Founding Fathers Would Be Pleased"

"The case of self-proclaimed "investigative blogger" Crystal Cox took another turn as the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded the case against her.   The decision gives greater First Amendment protection to bloggers than the stingy view taken by the District Court.   However, it also recognizes that trustees are not public figures entitled to less deferential review.   The case is Cox v. Obsidian Finance Group, No. 12-35238 (9th Cir. 1/17/14), which can be found here.    I have previously blogged about the case here and here.

What Happened

Since I have already written extensively about the case, I will just quote the Ninth Circuit's excellent summation of what happened here.
Kevin Padrick is a principal of Obsidian Finance Group, LLC (Obsidian), a firm that provides advice to financially distressed businesses. In December 2008, Summit Accommodators, Inc. (Summit), retained Obsidian in connection with a contemplated bankruptcy. After Summit filed for reorganization, the bankruptcy court appointed Padrick as the Chapter 11 trustee. Because Summit had misappropriated funds from clients, Padrick’s principal task was to marshal the firm’s assets for the benefit of those clients.

After Padrick’s appointment, Crystal Cox published blog posts on several websites that she created, accusing Padrick and Obsidian of fraud, corruption, money-laundering, and other illegal activities in connection with the Summit bankruptcy. Cox apparently has a history of making similar allegations and seeking payoffs in exchange for retraction. See David Carr, When Truth Survives Free Speech, N.Y. Times, Dec. 11, 2011, at B1. Padrick and Obsidian sent Cox a cease-and-desist letter, but she continued posting allegations. This defamation suit ensued.

The district court held that all but one of Cox’s blog posts were constitutionally protected opinions because they employed figurative and hyperbolic language and could not be proved true or false. Obsidian Fin. Grp., LLC v. Cox, 812 F. Supp. 2d 1220, 1232–34 (D. Or. 2011). The court held, however, that a December 25, 2010 blog post on bankruptcycorruption.com made “fairly specific allegations [that] a reasonable reader could understand . . . to imply a provable fact assertion”—i.e., that Padrick, in his capacity as bankruptcy trustee, failed to pay $174,000 in taxes owed by Summit. Id. at 1238. The district judge therefore allowed that single defamation claim to proceed to a jury trial. The jury found in favor of Padrick and Obsidian, awarding the former $1.5 million and the latter $1 million in compensatory damages.
Opinion, pp. 3-4.

After trial, noted First Amendment scholar Eugene Volokh (who contributes to the excellent Volokh Conspiracy blog) agreed to represent Ms.Cox on a pro bono basis.  She also drew high-powered amicus support from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and Scotusblog.com.  

The Issues on Appeal

The First Amendment is an interesting thing.   It allows anyone to say almost anything without prior restraint from the government.   However, that does not mean that free speech is free of consequences.   However, whether speech can be punished as defamatory depends on both the situation of the speaker and the identity of the person spoken about.  As explained by the Court of Appeals:
The Supreme Court’s landmark opinion in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan began the construction of a First Amendment framework concerning the level of fault required for defamation liability. 376 U.S. 254. Sullivan held that when a public official seeks damages for defamation, the official must show “actual malice”—that the defendant published the defamatory statement “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” Id. at 280. A decade later,Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., held that the First Amendment required only a “negligence standard for private defamation actions.” 418 U.S. 323, 350 (1974). This case involves the intersection between Sullivan and Gertz, an area not yet fully explored by this Circuit, in the context of a medium of publication—the Internet—entirely unknown at the time of those decisions.
 Opinion, pp. 8-9.

Crystal Cox had argued that she was entitled to be protected under the First Amendment but the District Court would have none of it.  It instructed the jury that “Defendant’s knowledge of whether the statements at issue were true or false and defendant’s intent or purpose in publishing those statements are not elements of the claim and are not relevant to the determination of liability.”   According to the District Court, Cox's speech did not relate to a matter of public concern because she did not meet the traditional definition of a journalist.   Among other things, she was not trained as a journalist, did not interview sources and did not seek to present both sides of a story.   The District Court also held that Padrick would not have been thrust into public controversy but for Cox's posts about him.

The Court of Appeals summarized Cox's position on appeal as:
Cox does not contest on appeal the district court’s finding that the December 25 blog post contained an assertion of fact; nor does she contest the jury’s conclusions that the post was false and defamatory. She challenges only the district court’s rulings that (a) liability could be imposed without a showing of fault or actual damages and (b) Padrick and Obsidian were not public officials.
Opinion, p. 7. 

The Ninth Circuit's Ruling

The Ninth Circuit conclusively rejected the argument that the institutional media is entitled to greater protection under the First Amendment than other speakers.   It quoted the recent Citizens United decision for the proposition that
We have consistently rejected the proposition that the institutional press has any constitutional privilege beyond that of other speakers.
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310, 352 (2010).

The Court concluded that the professional media were not entitled to greater protection than anyone else so that the identity of the speaker was constitutionally irrelevant.  Instead, the critical issues were whether the plaintiff was a public figure and whether the speech related to a matter of public concern.
The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable: “With the advent of the Internet and the decline of print and broadcast media . . . the line between the media and others who wish to comment on political and social issues becomes far more blurred.”Citizens United, 558 U.S. at 352. In defamation cases, the public-figure status of a plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue—not the identity of the speaker—provide the First Amendment touchstones. 

We therefore hold that the Gertz negligence requirement for private defamation actions is not limited to cases with institutional media defendants.
Opinion, pp. 11-12.

Having reached this conclusion, the Court still had to analyze whether Cox's speech was in fact related to a matter of public concern and whether Padrick was a public figure.   The Court had little difficulty ruling for Cox on the first issue.
The December 25 post alleged that Padrick, a court appointed trustee, committed tax fraud while administering the assets of a company in a Chapter 11 reorganization, and called for the “IRS and the Oregon Department of Revenue to look” into the matter. Public allegations that someone is involved in crime generally are speech on a matter of public concern. (citations omitted).
This court has held that even consumer complaints of non-criminal conduct by a business can constitute matters of public concern. (citations omitted). Cox’s allegations in this case are similarly a matter of public concern. Padrick was appointed by a United States Bankruptcy Court as the Chapter 11 trustee of a company that had defrauded its investors through a Ponzi scheme. 
That company retained him and Obsidian to advise it shortly before it filed for bankruptcy. The allegations against Padrick and his company raised  questions about whether they were failing to protect the defrauded investors because they were in league with their original clients.
Opinion, pp. 13-14.

However, the Court did support the trustee on the public figure issue.
Although bankruptcy trustees are “an integral part of the judicial process,” (citation omitted), neither Padrick nor Obsidian became public officials simply by virtue of Padrick’s appointment. Padrick was neither elected nor appointed to a government position, and he did not exercise “substantial . . . control over the conduct of governmental affairs.” (citation omitted).
A Chapter 11 trustee can be appointed by the bankruptcy court for cause or when the best interests of the estate or creditors dictate. (citation omitted). But, an appointed trustee simply substitutes for, and largely exercises the powers of, a debtor-in-possession. (citation omitted).
No one would contend that a debtor-in-possession has become a public official simply by virtue of seeking Chapter 11 protection, and we can reach no different conclusion as to the trustee who substitutes for the debtor in administering a Chapter 11 estate.
We also reject Cox’s argument that Padrick and Obsidian were “tantamount to public officials” because they received compensation from the court for their efforts. In Gertz, the Supreme Court held that there is “no such concept” as a “de facto public official,” (citation omitted), and that a lawyer who had served briefly on several housing committees appointed by the mayor of Chicago, but who had never held “any remunerative governmental position,” could not be considered a public official. Id. Bankruptcy trustees do not receive remuneration from the government. Their compensation is drawn from the assets of the Chapter 11 estate they administer. (citation omitted). They are not rendered public officials by virtue of that compensation, any more than is an expert witness compensated by the estate.
 Opinion, pp. 15-16.   

Finally, the Court affirmed the District Court's ruling that Cox's most outrageous and inflammatory statements were non-actionable.
Padrick and Obsidian argue on cross-appeal that the district court erred in granting Cox summary judgment as to her other blog posts. Among other things, those posts accuse Padrick and Obsidian of engaging in “illegal activity,” including “corruption,” “fraud,” “deceit on the government,” “money laundering,” “defamation,” “harassment,” “tax crimes,” and “fraud against the government.” Cox also claimed that Obsidian paid off “media” and “politicians” and may have hired a hit man to kill her.

In Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Co., the Supreme Court refused to create a blanket defamation exemption for “anything that might be labeled ‘opinion.’” (citation omitted). This court has held that “while ‘pure’ opinions are protected by the First Amendment, a statement that ‘may . . . imply a false assertion of fact’ is actionable.” (citation omitted). We have developed a three-part test to determine whether a statement contains an assertion of objective fact. (citation omitted). The test considers “
(1) whether the general tenor of the entire work negates the impression that the defendant was asserting an objective fact,
(2) whether the defendant used figurative or hyperbolic language that negates that impression, and
(3) whether the statement in question is susceptible of being proved true or false.”(citation omitted).

As to the first factor, the general tenor of Cox’s blog posts negates the impression that she was asserting objective facts. The statements were posted on obsidianfinancesucks.com, a website name that leads “the reader of the statements [to be] predisposed to view them with a certain amount of skepticism and with an understanding that they will likely present one sided viewpoints rather than assertions of provable facts.” (citation omitted) The district judge correctly concluded that the “occasional and somewhat run-on[,] almost ‘stream of consciousness’-like  sentences read more like a journal or diary entry revealing [Cox’s] feelings rather than assertions of fact.” (citation omitted).
As to the second factor, Cox’s consistent use of extreme language negates the impression that the blog posts assert objective facts. Cox regularly employed hyperbolic language in the posts, including terms such as “immoral,” “really bad,” “thugs,” and “evil doers.” Id. (quoting blog posts). Cox’s assertions that “Padrick hired a ‘hit man’ to kill her” or “that the entire bankruptcy court system is corrupt” similarly dispel any reasonable expectation that the statements assert facts.

And, as to the third factor, the district court correctly found that, in the context of a non-professional website containing consistently hyperbolic language, Cox’s blog posts are “not sufficiently factual to be proved true or false.” (citation omitted).
Opinion, pp. 16-17.

What It Means

Part 1--The Founding Fathers Would Be Pleased 

I have quoted large portions of the opinion because I think that Judge Hurwitz wrote a masterful opinion and said it better than I could have.   In my view, this opinion is an important contribution to First Amendment jurisprudence in the internet age.  

The District Court's ruling appeared to be based on the elitist construct that only the professional media are entitled to speak on matters of public concern.   It is my belief that the founding fathers, who were well acquainted with the pamphleteering of citizen journalists, would have been appalled at the District Court's attempt to distinguish between speakers instead of speech.    In case I haven't been entirely clear, the Ninth Circuit corrected an egregiously misbegotten ruling from the lower court.


Part 2--Who Is a Public Figure?
The Court's ruling on who is a public figure is interesting.   Previously I did not think that public figure was synonymous with public official.   However, it is something that I have wondered about.  A few years back there was a case from Austin that suggested the issue.   Franco v. Cronfel, 311 S.W.3d 600 (Tex. App.--Austin, 2010, no pet.) is an intriguing case that does not quite get there.   In that case, an attorney was appointed as a state court receiver. 

 The judgment creditor became disenchanted with the receiver's performance and posted a report on a site called the Ripoff Report.   On motion for summary judgment, State District Judge Scott Jenkins held that the receiver was a public figure, but denied the defendant's motion that there was no evidence of actual malice.  

The Court of Appeals affirmed the summary judgment ruling that actual malice had not been negted but found that it lacked jurisdiction over the appeal of the public figure ruling.   Because the court of appeals assumed that the receiver was a public figure for purposes of appeal but did not ultimately reach the issue, the case is intriguing but not substantive.

In my view, a person does not become a public figure merely by being appointed trustee of a bankruptcy case.    However, I think that a trustee or other court-appointed official could become a public figure based on either the importance of the case or the trustee's efforts to seek the limelight.  To paraphrase Shakespeare, some are born public figures, some achieve public figure status and some have public figure status thrust upon them.   Attorneys are shameless self-promoters.    When an attorney or a trustee gets a really big case, it is human nature to want to proclaim it to the world since media exposure is free marketing.   In other cases, the trustee finds himself participating in a case of such public importance that he becomes a public figure whether he wants to or not.  In my view, Irving Picard is an example of both.    As the trustee for Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, LLC, Mr. Picard became a player in one of the largest scandals of our time.  According to the Huffiington Post,
A little more than two years into the job, the 69-year-old Picard, who was plucked from obscurity to recover the money, has become America's most unlikely celebrity lawyer, and perhaps its most underrated.
While Mr. Picard may not have consciously sought public figure status, any time you can be described as "America's most unlikely celebrity lawyer," you are one.

Part 3--Hyperbole and Defamation

Finally, the court's discussion of the difference between defamation and hyperbole, while legally correct, is sadly ironic.   What it says is that if you are going to attack someone, the more outrageous and unprovable your statements are, the less likely it is that someone could successfully file a defamation suit against you.

An example.   Let's say that I have a case with bankruptcy trustee Ron Satija and get mad at him.  I post the following statement on my blog:
Ron Satija is an arrogant snot of a trustee who uses his East Coast education to oppress anyone he considers to be his social inferior.   The elitist indoctrination he received at Columbia serves him well in destroying the lives of ordinary Texas citizens.
In this example, the only factual statements are that Ron Satija is a trustee and that he was educated at Columbia which is on the East Coast.   The rest is hyperbole and opinion.   The factual statements are indisputably true because Ron is a trustee and he did attend Columbia.   While the remaining content is calculated to make people think bad things about Ron Satija, they are protected under the First Amendment.
On the other hand, assume I said:
At a 341 meeting on January 23, 2014, bankruptcy Trustee Ron Satija told debtor John Smith, "You are an ignorant cowturd who attended Texas A & M University.  Therefore, I shall object to your discharge."
At this point, I have made a factually provable statement.   There either was a 341 meeting held for John Smith or there was not.   The statement was either made or it was not.   While the statement conveys the same sentiment as before, it is now making an assertion of objective fact.

I guess that the lesson is that while we must all suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fate, we can only sue if those arrows are tipped with factually verifiable statements.

Note:  Ron Satija is neither an arrogant snot nor an East Coast elitist.   He is a well-mannered and gracious individual.   I used Ron as an example because he is a friend and fellow blogger.   You should check out his blog at www.spirituallybankrupt.com.  
Sour