facts are stupid things

Vile Blogger Fined $60,000 For Spreading Malicious Facts

The End.What’s the latest news from Freedomland, besides union-busting and Barack Obama bragging about how he can throw you in a Horror Brig and keep you there in naked, solitary confinement for as long as he likes — even if you’re white? Oh, there’s this: “A Minneapolis blogger was ordered on Friday to pay $60,000 in damages to an ex-community leader who lost his job because of the blogger’s reporting — even though that reporting was accurate.” Why was this snooty blogger even writing about the Truth? Did the Truth do something newsworthy, like finger-bang Justin Bieber’s new hairdo during one of Charlie Sheen’s cumtastic, cocaine-o’clock orgies? And if so, why didn’t the Wolf Blitzer hologram interrupt its exclusive live coverage of “Did Jesus Punish Japan Because Lindsay Lohan Escaped From Rehab?” to let us know? Something fishy is going on.

Yes, here is an excellent news story which explains just how hurtful the Truth is to America:

John Hoff connected Jerry Moore, who was employed by the University of Minnesota to study mortgage foreclosures, to a mortgage fraud. Even though the accusations turned out to be true, the jury ruled against Hoff in a suit and awarded Moore $35,000 in lost wages and $25,000 for emotional distress.

So some jerk studying mortgage fraud was involved in mortgage fraud, and then a concerned jury awarded him $60,000 because someone on the Internet pointed out he was connected to mortgage fraud. Did they pull this jury from a crayon-eating convention or has it really gotten this bad?

Also: Anyone who lied and said that this crybaby mortgage fraudster “Jerry Moore” is not connected to mortgage fraud WILL BE SUED FOR LIBEL.

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Also also: If you do not reside in The United States of Sadness and are looking for a man-servant/butler/someone quiet to live under your staircase, please contact this worried blogger immediately at riley@wonkette.com. Serious propositions only. Thank You and may Yahweh have mercy on our tormented souls. [The Village Voice]

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About the author

Riley is an "internet blogger." He has written for such internet websites as True/Slant and the terrible Brangelina gossip emporium "The Huffington Post." Riley lives in northeast DC, near H Street. Maybe you do too and want to hang out?

View all articles by Riley Waggaman

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112 comments

      1. Lorem_Ipsum

        Actually, it's Senator Clown-boy's district, and our Rep is Keith'The Shill' Ellison. I'm sure this jury voted for both.

  1. nounverb911

    So does this mean we are no longer allowed to tell the truth on the internet? If so, Fox news is way ahead of us.

  2. Lascauxcaveman

    Okay, but don't forget to post the donation link for funding Hoff's appeal.

    Juries, because they are composed of Americans, tend to do stupid things and get overturned on appeal.

    1. cheaphits

      As usual, excellent advise from caveman. Going to court is the States is always a crapshoot. Studies have found at least 10% of the people on death row are truly innocent and this is Minnesota – the men on the jury wanted to get back on the tractors and the women had work to do as well. Those steers didn't castrate themselves you know.

      It is also true that some lawyers are better than others and that may have been a factor and occasionally the facts of the case can even effect the verdict. Winning an appeal, while not a sure thing, is worth a shot and a donation link is needed.

      And, Riley, nice work! Your post not only represents truth, justice and the Amerikan way – it was written with true Wonkette ethos and spirit.

    2. bumfug

      This shouldn't even need an appeal; the judge should have thrown this bullshit verdict out immediately. I know that law doesn't count for much any more but the truth is still an absolute defense against slander and/or libel.

      1. cheaphits

        Right, shoulda, woulda, coulda is what everyone says as they walk down thew courthouse steps (if they are fortunate enough to be free to leave).

  3. SorosBot

    Was the guy suing the blogger in England or something? In the US, truth is supposed to be a complete defense for slander and libel suits.

    1. ShaveTheWhales

      The claim was "tortious interference" with the sleazeball's employment, even though the blogger was telling the truth.

      Shirley Sherrod wants this jury.

  4. memzilla

    Say, you know who else fined and jailed people for telling the truth about corrupt financial transactions which furthered a political agenda… ?

  5. PublicLuxury

    Orange is the new black. Truth is bad and lies are rewarded. Sounds like FOX News is the reality. Maybe we're the ones living backward. . . ? ? ? Nah.

  6. Blendergoathead

    Ha ha, Obama's going to fire *all* your truth-telling asses, then fine you for the trouble.

    Hobo beans for everyone (unless they're confiscated to pay your monumental debts)!

  7. CliveWarren

    I really am looking for a man-servant/butler but I don't have a staircase. Also, he should be as vocal as possible – quietness just doesn't do anything for me.

  8. elviouslyqueer

    If there's anything good to come of this, it's that this is really bad news for James O'Keefe. Ron Schiller, Vivian Schiller, your move.

    1. V572625694

      Maye NPR could use some of their socialist federal $$ to defend their employees?

      Ha ha, no fucken way!

    1. gef05

      What about comments regarding all the folks that really are total arseholes? Surely those ones stand.

  9. CookiE_MonstA

    And I thought 1984 was just a nice little Science Fiction story. I now realize it was prophecy…

      1. CookiE_MonstA

        I'm not a MAC or a PC. I'm 32 networked servers and 60 workstations running Linux. :-P~

  10. Lascauxcaveman

    Also, why did the University of Minnesota fire the researcher "to study mortgage foreclosures" just because of a mortgage fraud? Sounds like a expert in the field, if you ask me.

  11. walstib

    Next person to say I'm a great lay is gettin' served, muthafuckers!!

    Oh wait, did I do that right?

  12. SayItWithWookies

    How soon they forget John Peter Zenger:

    At the end of the trial on August 5, 1735, the twelve New York jurors returned a verdict of "not guilty" on the charge of publishing "seditious libels," even though judges who were hand-picked by the governor were presiding. Hamilton had successfully argued that Zenger's articles were not libelous because even if they were slanderous in use, all statements were based on fact. Zenger published a verbatim account of the trial as A Brief Narrative of the Case and Trial of John Peter Zenger (1736). "No nation, ancient or modern, ever lost the liberty of speaking freely, writing, or publishing their sentiments, but forthwith lost their liberty in general and became slaves" stated Zenger.

    Or Larry Flynt's trial for that matter, where the original jury found that he was innocent of libel but fined him anyway. That was overturned by the Supreme Court, for reasons so obvious that even this court might uphold that ruling.

    1. V572625694

      B-but Judge your Honor, we're really, really mad at this guy! Isn't that more important than rule of law or the Constitution? Isn't jury service just a kind of therapy for the jurors, the same way sentencing hearings are therapy for victims' families?

    2. OhNoGuy

      " That was overturned by the Supreme Court, for reasons so obvious that even this court might uphold that ruling."

      This court has confused Obvious with Oblivious with predictable results.

  13. GuyClinch

    Riley, this may be the best/funniest/most despairing post you've ever written. Also, Breitbart probably has some overseas property somewhere where he can store you under the stairs.

    1. CapnFatback

      Hear, hear! More Riley posting; less Breitbart groping!

      Everybody:

      More Riley posting; less Breitbart groping!
      More Riley posting; less Breitbart groping!
      More Riley posting; less Breitbart groping!

  14. Buckminster

    It's pitiful we've lost freedom of speech in this country. How they can sue him for damages when he reported FACTS, I'll never understand, because I'm never going to be a lawyer.

  15. DonnyKerabotsos

    Everybody always suing everybody…I liked the old days, simpler times…I can remember when we could shoot someone in the face and they had the good manners and grace to apologize.

  16. prommie

    Riley, either there are details missing, or the facts are being distorted in the Village Voice blog from whence this story came. I can assure you, the reporting of legal issues in the lamestream media as a rule sucks ass, and when its reporting by a blogger who identifies with the subject of the story and is in a panicking, chicken-little- that the sky is falling mode because he doesn't understand the arcana or is unaware of some important details, then the reporting will suck hairy ass.

    1. LesBontemps

      Short version: libel action barred (for truthiness), case proceeded on tortious interference with contractual relationship. Defendant wasn't "fined," but damages were assessed at $35k economic loss and $25k emotional distress. (Emotional distress in a contract case??? That's probably grounds for appeal right there).

      1. Moonbat

        If the claim is "tortious inteference" it's not a contract case. It's a tort case in which the injury arose from interference with a preexisting contractual relationship.

        It still smells like bullshit, but emotional distress damages are recoverable. Also, since technically the claim wasn't for libel, truth might not be any kind of defense. Why a jury would award this sleazeball damages is beyond me, but it doesn't sound like they did anything obviously against the law in doing so.

    2. Bluestatelibel

      I have to say as a reporter, some lawyers suck and are blatant liars. When I was a wee little reporter, a town attorney who routinely fell asleep in meetings, blamed an entire town's woes on me, in front of 500 people. All because I reported on all the crap him and the town council would like to keep secret and not worry their pretty little heads over.

  17. [redacted]Crusher

    This is good news for Rush Limbaugh, since he's threatened to sue anyone that has documented proof that he said something racist.

  18. prommie

    Oops, turns out the verdict was indeed based on a cause of action for "tortious interference with prospective economic advantage." It will be reversed, no doubt.

  19. Guppy06

    So, I go through three for four links deep to find the original article, here:
    http://www.startribune.com/local/117805398.html

    "When Hoff found out, he wrote a post accusing Moore of being involved in a 'high-profile fraudulent mortgage,' one of several that resulted in a 16-year prison sentence for former real estate agent Larry Maxwell. Moore was not charged in the Maxwell case."

    "Hoff said he told the truth and had documentation."

    Soooo… what is this documentation? Even if it wasn't allowable in the courtroom, did he try passing it on to the state's attorney?

    I think this is a lot more fucked up than the kneejerk reactions are suggesting.

  20. hagajim

    Barry probably saw the original story, but because he only skims stuff that might be critical he didn't really pay attention.

  21. grex1949

    Need to wait for decisions on post-trial motions. My guess is that the verdict will be overturned by the trial judge. We'll see.

  22. bikerlaureate

    What's with this inference that anyone connected to the mortgage industry could ever do something wrong, or incorrect, or even shaky?
    USA USA USA!

  23. Tommmcatt

    There's an opening at my house for a "Gimp" , Riley…all the Crisco you can, um, eat…

  24. zhubajie

    Riley, anyone else, if you *really* want to leave the US and calm down for a while, teaching english abroad is still a magic carpet that can take you anywhere. A passport, a standard accent, patience and chutzpah are the main qualifications. http://www.eslcafe.com/ lists openings all over the world and also forums (by country) where you can ask "is XYZ English School a bunch of crooks or what?" <a href="http://www.abroadchina.org” target=”_blank”>www.abroadchina.org lists openings in China (where I work). Both will let you post resumes. In China is that they don't care if you have formal teacher training. Stick to the public universities and you'll get paid on time. Pay includes a middle-class salary, an apartment and basic medical care, often a ticket back to the US. Negotiate for a ticket to China and you'll probably get it.

    1. rileywaggs

      Thanks for the tip. I thought a lot of these teaching jobs require TOEFL ESL certification, though?

    2. Troubledog

      Count me in. Got a couple loose ends to tie up first. Do you just sit back like Jack Black and be witty and shit? Should I use one of those agencies or is that a ripoff?

  25. Redhead

    So "Truth is the ultimate defense against libel" or the fact that most libel/slander suits involve proving that the material was incorrect AND the person knew or reasonably should have known that the material was incorrect no longer applies? Or does Minneapolis not consider bloggers press?

    This guy needs a new lawyer (ACLU? Press association?) and an appeal.

  26. EatsBabyDingos

    The Plaintiff asked for a jury of his peers. When asked, the foreman said it was basically "honor amongst theives." RACKO!

  27. donner_froh

    The UK now has some real competition in the jurisdiction shopping contests for libel suits. Since truth is no longer a defense here in the United States of Amerikkka a lot of those fat legal fees that have landed in the Law Courts will now head back to our great nation.

  28. Lost_Teabaggers

    I knew right away this decision held resemblance to that bullshit "tortious interference" anti-whistle blower tactic…and yep, there it is! Jesus H. Christ…why do we even HAVE first amendment anymore? Speech is free unless it's true in which case you can be sued right off your ass when some corporation operating in an ILLEGAL, UNETHICAL MANNER is "harmed" by you exposing their corruption to the public. Usually it's used against people who've signed confidentiality agreements but this is an even worse application of this bullshit litigation. What's worse is if what you disclose is true, the more truth you reveal, the larger the tort. That this guy was sued via tortious interference shows that what he revealed was absolutely true…now we know why investigative journalism is dead and whistleblowing is going right behind it. Pat yourselves on the backs corporatists and other douchebags, oh and you too judges who actually rule in your favor with this nonsense to beat people with conscience into silence.

  29. Lost_Teabaggers

    I remember that tortious interference was threatened to prevent disclosure of information regarding corporate crimes in the tobacco industry from seeing the light of day. It doesn't matter if these companies spent decades committing purgery regarding whether they knew or not that nicotine was addictive, or if smoking causes cancer…what matter is if anyone from the INSIDE busts them for lying; because revealing that a giant corporation which makes it money defrauding people by pretending their product is harmless not only knows better but spends R & D money in making sure their product is MORE addictive and therefore harmful….it hurts profits to expose them and as we know, it's socialist (pure, pure evil) to hurt corporate profits even when they're lying, amoral monsters. That's the thinking here…and Jerry Moore is a douchebag for filing this suit, but the judge and especially the jury are major league, James O'Keefe sized douchebags for ruling in his favor.

  30. tessiee

    “Did Jesus Punish Japan Because Lindsay Lohan Escaped From Rehab?”

    Booze and hot pants!

  31. Dave1234T

    As someone who has followed this case closely for the past couple years, it is important to point out that John Hoff is clearly an internet predator with a documented history of harassment and intimidation going back at least 10 years in multiple states.
    Just Google “John Hoff Minneapolis” and search through the numerous factual articles about him.
    Two factual and documented examples: 1) About 10 year ago he was elected to the city council in Grand Forks, ND. Within 3 months the citizens had enough signatures for a recall election and booted him from office due to his erratic and abusive behavior. 2) He rented a room in his house to a female roommate. He was so abusive and intimidating that she had to get a restraining order against John Hoff to be safe until she could find another place to live (SEE :http://www.mplsmirror.com/mpls/images/stories/pdf/JohnHoff.pdf).
    What John Hoff does is use his blog to attack and intimidate people he has disagreements with. He calls it “First Amendment retaliation”. In other words he is going to use the internet and his freedom of speech to stalk, defame, harass, threaten, and intimidate you. He will not stop until he has made your life so miserable, and you are so afraid that you seek the law to protect yourself. And even then he will not stop. John Hoff will use his blog to assassinate your character, and use his catch phrase, “Go Googlebots”, which is his way of making sure internet search engines will spread his defamatory and degrading comments.
    That is who and what John Hoff is — a malicious predator who gets his kicks from the hurt, harm, and misery he causes others.
    I’m pretty sure what happened at this trial is that the jury saw what a sick and dangerous personality John Hoff has and found for the plaintiff because there is absolutely no question that John Hoff caused Jerry Moore emotional distress, and deliberately interfered with his employment.
    I would also point out that this type of speech in not necessarily protected by the 1st Amendment.
    His attacks on people are real folks. There are plenty of other victims besides Jerry Moore. And now he’s threatening to retaliate against Jerry Moore, because he lost the civil suit.
    John Hoff got what he deserved, and I think the rest of the blogosphere is fairly safe, unless you behave like John Hoff.
    PS DO NOT donate to him.

  32. lulzmonger

    If you can't do the time, don't report the facts.
    Doing The Right Thing in the 1st Degree, & a count of Making Everyone Else Look Bad to boot?
    BURN THE WITCH!

  33. HelpJohnnyWin

    How can anyone not love this guy? He wants Courtney Love's help. Truly, you can get another post on that alone.

    MPR, the local Minnesota affiliate of NPR, no resignations here yet, has the story, headlined, "Johnny Northside wants to enlist Courtney Love in free speech fight."

    Laura Yuen wrote the story, so Google the title and her name, and read. Wonk it.

    So, everyone with Courtney's phone number, email address, and/or channeling abilities, get the lady the message. Wonder Woman's needed. Man in distress.

    I bet Wonkette readers even know Courtney Love's agent's phone number, email address, and/or channeling abilities.

    Go for it. And Wonkette, yourself, it's meat on the floor, so scarf it up!!!!!!

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