NEW YORK, NY — (02-06-21) — U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant ordered Herring Networks, the parent company of the right wing conservative media network One America News Network (OAN), Herring Networks, to pay Rachel Maddow and MSNBC $250,000 in attorney’s fees stemming from a frivolous defamation lawsuit that was dismissed last year.
The right wing network in July 2019 filed a lawsuit against MSNBC host Racho Maddow claiming the liberal host had defamed OAN when she discussed reports that one of the network’s contributors also worked for the Russia state news organization Sputnik.
Maddow went on to state that OAN “literally is paid Russian propaganda,” which OAN’s parent company claimed was false and defamatory. The parent company of the OAN Network then filed a defamation lawsuit seeking $10 million.
Attorneys representing Maddow and MSNBC responded by filing a special motion to strike the case under California’s Anti-Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (Anti-SLAPP) law. Such measures are meant to prevent people and companies from using the courts to stifle constitutionally protected First Amendment speech.
U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant dismissed the defamation lawsuit with prejudice. Judge Bashant ruled that there was “no set of facts that could support a claim for defamation based on Maddow’s statement.”
Under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, defendants who prevail on a special motion to toss a defamation case are entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees and costs related to extracting themselves from unsound claims.
The court calculated that Maddow’s team of high-priced attorneys from the law firm Gibson Dunn—including famed First Amendment attorney Ted Boutrous, Jr.—were entitled to collect on 363.1 hours of work totaling $247,667.50, plus an additional $10,724 for hours billed by paralegals.
JRL CHARTS attempted to get comment on this story from the Herring Network’s owner, Charles Herring, but did not receive a response before publishing this report.
The OAN Network is also facing a $2.7 Billion dollar lawsuit filed by Dominion attorney Thomas Clare, over the network pushing the narrative of former president Donald Trump that the election was rigged by the voting machines software by Dominion.
“We warned OAN specifically and in writing that they would be broadcasting false and defamatory statements of fact if they broadcast the program, and they made the affirmative decision to disregarded that warning and broadcast it anyway.” said Claire.
Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
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