GotNewsDotCom is having a busy week, legally anyway.
Yesterday, Chuck C. Johnson, editor-in-thief of said “online nwespaper,” blogged that attorneys representing Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) had sent him a cease and desist letter, demanding that GNDC stop spreading reports that Ellmers and House Majority leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) were having an affair.
Though the letter demands Johnson’s articles alleging the affair be immediately taken down, they were still up today.
Meanwhile, another chapter in Johnson’s libel suit against Gawker.com is due to begin tomorrow, as Johnson’s attorneys need to respond to Gawker’s motion to either dismiss the case, or move the venue to either California (where Johnson and GotNews are based) or to New York (where Gawker is based). Johnson logically had filed his complaint in St. Louis, Missouri.
The clock is ticking. Johnson’s lawyers had requested two deadline extensions for their response already, first from Oct. 2 to Oct. 5, and then again to Oct. 9. The beginning of the latest extension request begins thusly:
Ironically, as his lawyers were filing for the second extension, Johnson was bragging on his Facebook page that Gawker’s days were numbered, and Twitter’s were next.
Johnson was permanently banned from Twitter over the Memorial Day weekend. He really misses it.
Did they or didn’t they?
In January GNDC carried a stroy that Ellmers and McCarthy were allegedly having an affair, except the word “allegedly” was not anywhere in the article. Rather, Johnson claimed that “multiple sources” had confirmed an “open secret” that the two married Congress-people were bonking each other.
With the resignation of Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) as Speaker of the House, McCarthy becomes a possible replacement. So, Johnson reprinted the same stroy on Sept. 25, with the following two paragraphs as an introduction:
GotNews.com first published this article earlier this year and has received numerous confirmations about it since then.
Neither McCarthy, nor Ellmers has denied it and now that McCarthy is next in line for the speakership of the House the affair has taken on new relevance.
But Ellmers now has denied it, quite emphatically, in the cease and desist letter Johnson published yesterday at GNDC.
I am writing in response to recent defamatory and false statements made by you regarding our client, Congresswoman Renee Ellmers. …
Attached to this letter is a word document that contains the defamatory and false statements made by you.
Each and every allegation and insinuation of improper conduct between Mrs. Ellmers and Majority Leader McCarthy is unequivocally and indisputably false. There is absolutely no basis for your suggestions. These reports are causing great injury to Mrs. Ellmers and her family.
We respectfully ask you to immediately cease and desist from making any further false and defamatory statements. We also request that the defamatory statements be immediately deleted from GotNews.com, as well.
Thank you for your attention to these matters.
Very truly yours,
Thomas A. Farr
The attachment detailing the “defamatory and false statements” was not reprinted, however.
Additionally, the articles in question remain visible on the GotNews site. Notably, Johnson’s blog about the letter includes the words “alleged affair” and “allegations of her own martial (sic) infidelity,” even as he insists GNDC stands by its story.
It’s a little late for that language, sonny.
GotNwes has sent an inquiry to Mr. Farr regardling his client’s next move.
Gawker quivers in its boots, or maybe laughs hilariously
In May Johnson filed a libel suit against Gawker.com, claiming it had defamed him and hurt his business (the highly lucrative business — hah! — of doxxing people online), and demanded lofty damages totaling $66 million. His St. Louis-based lawyers filed the complaint in St. Louis County Court, despite neither Johnson/GotNews nor Gawker having any presence in that fine state.
Gawker subsequently filed a motion that the suit be transferred to federal district court, which is where it sits now. Then Gawker’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the libel suit, listing several reasons why Johnson’s suit was largely frivolous. Plaintiff’s response is due tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Gawker writer Adam Weinstein reprinted on his Twitter timeline a series of exchanges he had had with Johnson by email and phone text, in which Johnson apparently was trying to get Weinstein to provide internal memos sent to Gawker personnel.
Here are some of their exchanges.
Stay tuned for further developments in Johnson versus the World.