In a recent Washington Post article, writer Euguene Volokh analyzes whether or not Donald Trump can sue Buzzfeed for libel for publishing unverified allegations that Russia had “compromising material and information on Trump’s personal life and finances.”
Volokh references several theories and court cases throughout his analysis.
Section 4 of his discussion references the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Case Norton v. Glenn in 2004. City councilman William T. Glenn Sr. accused council president James B. Norton III of sexually assaulting him, and claimed that Norton and mayor Alan M. Wolfe were gay and child molesters.
According to the Supreme Court case, Chester County’s The Daily Local published the accusations, and Norton and Wolfe sued the paper and Glenn. A jury found Glenn’s allegations to be false.
Some argued the charges to be newsworthy, regardless of their truth. As stated in Edwards v. National Audubon Society, “when a responsible, prominent organization … makes serious charges against a public figure, the First Amendment protects the accurate and disinterested reporting of those charges.”
However, the court rejected this “neutral reportage privilege.”
Volokh concluded that Trump’s case would partially depend on “whether the jurisdiction recognizes the neutral reportage privilege and would apply it to this situation.” However, he thinks it’s unlikely that Trump will take the issue to court.
To read the entire Washington Post article, click here.
To read the Norton v Glenn Supreme Court case report, click here.