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Gilmore v. Jones

370 F. Supp. 3d 630 (2019)

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Gilmore v. Jones

United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia

370 F. Supp. 3d 630 (2019)

Facts

On August 12, 2017, Brennan Gilmore (plaintiff) attended a counterprotest in Charlottesville, Virginia, against neo-Nazis and white supremacists rallying nearby. While Gilmore was recording the demonstration, he caught video of James Alex Fields, Jr., driving into a crowd, injuring 36 people and killing Heather Heyer. Gilmore posted the video on Twitter, where it went viral. At the time of the incident, Gilmore was working on a political campaign for a Democratic politician. Prior to that, Gilmore had been employed by the United States State Department. In the days after the incident, Gilmore gave interviews related to the counterprotest and rally. Several individuals and websites associated with right-wing politics (defendants), including InfoWars and Gateway Pundit, published videos and articles claiming that Gilbert was involved in a conspiracy organized by the State Department to stage the incident as part of a broader scheme to undermine and possibly overthrow President Donald Trump. Gilmore filed a defamation lawsuit against the defendants in federal district court, alleging that the defendants had published defamatory statements against him with actual malice falsely accusing him of orchestrating the incident. Gilmore also alleged that the statements had harmed his reputation. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that Gilmore had failed to state valid claims against them.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Moon, J.)

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