Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Withdraws Defamation Suit

Self-styled “terrorism expert” Steven Emerson has filed for dismissal of a multi-million-dollar defamation suit against a Florida newspaper and its senior editor. The “notice of voluntary dismissal” (Case No. 00-03739) filed in the Circuit Court in and for Hillsborough County, Fla., states: “Plaintiff Steven Emersonherewith serves notice of his dismissal of this action, without prejudice, against defendants John Sugg and The Weekly Planet, Inc.”

“This lawsuit did not have any merit, and I believe it was filed in bad faith to deter us and others from telling the truth about Emerson. I think that ‘pseudo-journalist’ is a perfect description for Steven Emerson,” said Sugg, currently senior editor of Creative Loafing in Atlanta, Ga. Sugg added: “We reported the truth. In four years of litigation, Emerson has been unwilling or unable to come up with any evidence that what we reported was false. Now that we were close to forcing him to back up his claims, he has run away.”

Emerson’s lawsuit alleged that Sugg, then senior editor of Florida’s Weekly Planet newspaper, “maliciously and repeatedly published false and defamatory utterances” in an “ongoing campaign to undermine Emerson’s credibility and damage his professional and personal reputation.” Emerson sought one million dollars in actual damages and ten million dollars in punitive damages on each of three causes of action.

The complaint centered on allegations reported by Sugg that two Associated Press reporters said Emerson gave them a document on terrorism supposedly from FBI files: “One reporter thought he’d seen the material before, and in checking found a paper Emerson had supplied earlier containing his own unsupported allegations. The two documents were almost identical, except that Emerson’s authorship was deleted from the one purported to be from the FBI. ‘It was really his work,’ one reporter says. ‘He sold it to us trying to make it look like a really interesting FBI document.'” (Weekly Planet, May 1998) In that same article, Sugg quoted AP reporter Richard Cole saying: “‘We were not really clear on the origin of his [Emerson’s] material.’ Because of that, Cole recalls, much of Emerson’s information was sliced from the series.” (Cole was the lead writer of a 1997 AP series on terrorism.)

The lawsuit also disputed allegations that Emerson gave false information to a Senate subcommittee during testimony in 1998. In an article headlined “Ties to Spies?” Sugg wrote: “In a missive submitted to a U.S. Senate subcommittee in February, Emerson stated that a federal lawman and other authorities in 1995 told him ‘radical Islamic fundamentalists had been assigned to carry out an assassination of me. An actual hit team had been dispatched…’ Emerson claimed the authorities said he could probably ‘get permission to enter the Witness Security Program’ “After I sent Emerson’s document to the Justice Department’s Terrorism and Violent Crimes Section, this on-the-record response was made by spokesman John Russell on May 5.

“‘You pushed the right button asking about your friend Steve Emerson,’ Russell said. ‘We’ve never given any thought to putting him in the witness protection program.’ Is there any truth to the allegation of an assassination team? ‘No, none at all,’ Russell responded.”

In documents filed with the court, Emerson said he was “notified by U.S. government officials in 1995 of a death threat against him.”

Emerson is best known for his controversial 1994 PBS production “Jihad in America.” Muslims say he has a long history of defamatory and inaccurate attacks on the Islamic community in this country.

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Chris Gilbert
In the Wake of Nepal’s Incomplete Revolution: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian 
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
Ralph Nader
Unmasking Phony Values Campaigns by the Corporatists
Victor Grossman
A Big Rally and a Bavarian Vote
James Bovard
Groped at the Airport: Congress Must End TSA’s Sexual Assaults on Women
Jeff Roby
Florida After Hurricane Michael: the Sad State of the Unheeded Planner
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Bradley Kaye
The Policy of Policing
Cesar Chelala
The Catholic Church Fails Sexual Abuse Victims
Kevin Cashman
One Year After Hurricane Maria: Employment in Puerto Rico is Down by 26,000
Dr. Hakim Young
Nonviolent Afghans Bring a Breath of Fresh Air
Karl Grossman
Irving Like vs. Big Nuke
Dan Corjescu
The New Politics of Climate Change
John Carter
The Plight of the Pyrenees: the Abandoned Guard Dogs of the West
Ted Rall
Brett Kavanaugh and the Politics of Emotion-Shaming
Graham Peebles
Sharing is Key to a New Economic and Democratic Order
Ed Rampell
The Advocates
Louis Proyect
The Education Business
October 18, 2018
Erik Molvar
The Ten Big Lies of Traditional Western Politics
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail