Judge dismisses defamation lawsuit against Splinter, its managing editor and parent company
In ending a $100 million defamation lawsuit that included a subpoena for reporting materials from a journalist, a judge ruled in favor of Splinter news site, its parent company Gizmodo Media Group (now G/O Media), and its managing editor Katherine Krueger, the site reported.
U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga cited New York’s fair reporting privilege in her summary judgement on Aug. 27, 2019, writing, “[T]he material facts of record show the Article is a fair and true report as a matter of law."
As part of the lawsuit brought by Jason Miller, a former adviser to President Trump, journalist J. Arthur Bloom had been subpoenaed for reporting materials, including “communications, messages, emails, texts, direct messages, social media posts or messages, Facebook messages, tweets, and/or similar documents, whether in hard copy or electronic form” among multiple parties, The Daily Beast reported. Bloom issued a statement that he would not be complying with the subpoena.
“We are gratified by the Judge’s ruling which recognizes that our reporters were simply doing their jobs and that they are protected by the law,” G/O Media (formerly Gizmodo Media Group), Splinter’s parent company, said in a statement published by Splinter.
Defamation suit dismissed
On April 18, 2019, a Florida judge dismissed Jason Miller’s claim against William Menaker, co-host of the Chapo Trap House podcast. The suit against Gizmodo media group is ongoing.
An earlier update incorrectly stated the entire suit was dismissed.
As part of a defamation lawsuit against Gizmodo Media Group, journalist J. Arthur Bloom has received a subpoena for his communications — including Facebook messages and emails — from legal counsel for a former Trump adviser, Jason Miller. Bloom is pushing back on the subpoena, claiming that reporter’s privilege protects him from disclosure of unpublished materials.
The subpoena, dated Feb. 4, 2019, orders Bloom to produce numerous reporting materials, communications, and documents by Feb. 22.
The subpoena was issued as part of a $100 million lawsuit filed by Miller against Gizmodo Media Group and its reporter Katherine Krueger over an article Kruger authored for Splinter News. The article cites court documents filed by A.J. Delgado, another former Trump adviser who was in a relationship with Miller, alleging that Miller had gotten another woman pregnant and drugged her. Later, Chapo Trap House podcast co-host Will Menaker was added to the lawsuit.
The subpoena orders Bloom to produce communications he may have had with Krueger or Delgado. It also demanded any of Bloom’s reporting materials on investigations into Miller’s sexual relationships, including notes, memos, or records created during his research.
Bloom was served the subpoena at his home on the evening of Feb. 5. He responded to the subpoena with an objection letter, writing that any subpoenas requiring the disclosure of privileged or otherwise protected material should be quashed.
“Any information I may have relating to the material requested in Exhibit A would have been developed in my capacity as a professional journalist (as defined by Section 90.5015 of the Florida Statutes) at the time, investigating a story I did not run with,” his objection reads.
Miller’s attorney Shane B. Vogt of Bajo Cuva Cohen & Turkel PA did not respond to request for comment.
In an interview with the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, Bloom took particular issue with the subpoena’s demand for relevant social media posts, including tweets. He noted that Miller had blocked Bloom on Twitter, so if Miller wanted copies of his tweets, he could simply unblock him and view the posts.
When a process server called him, Bloom said he was asked if he knew where to find reporter Yashar Ali, indicating that he would also receive a subpoena.
Ali did not immediately respond to requests for comment and questions as to whether he was also served a subpoena by Miller’s legal team.