- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 7, 2015

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) - Mother Jones is no longer facing a defamation lawsuit from an Idaho businessman who said the magazine published an article and two Tweets promoting it that led to national criticism.

The Post Register reports (https://bit.ly/1PiNhmc) Judge Darla Williamson dismissed Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot’s lawsuit while calling the magazine’s journalistic practices “little more than mudslinging.”

Williamson said the article stated opinions, and was not defamatory as a result.

“But the journalistic model revealed to the court in the record of this lawsuit is anything but a ‘guardian of true liberty,’” Williamson wrote. “Instead, it is little more than mudslinging, advertised as journalistic fearlessness, which offers little in the way of a complete or balanced picture for its readers.”

Editor in Chief Clara Jeffery called the dismissal a powerful vindication. Attorney James Chadwick released a statement from the magazine, saying the verdict “holds VanderSloot and Melaleuca failed to show that any of the statements they attacked was false.”

VanderSloot said he considered Williamson’s decision a victory, and that his goal was to clear his name.

“We were asking for it to be sent to a jury,” VanderSloot said. “The judge gave us so much more than what a jury could have given us.”

The Mother Jones article said an ad paid for by VanderSloot “outed” former Post Register reporter Peter Zuckerman as gay. Zuckerman was named in the lawsuit as a result of his appearance on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

VanderSloot said that aspect of the case is unaffected by Williamson’s decision, and is expected to go to trial.


Information from: Post Register, https://www.postregister.com

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