Al Sharpton Considering Lawsuit Against Rush Limbaugh
Sharpton Lawsuit Against Rush Hilariously Counterproductive
Thanks in advance, Al "Voluntary Coast Guard" Sharpton, for what could prove to be the trial of the century. Just imagine the Tawana Brawley huckster placing himself in the position of having to be deposed by Rush Limbaugh's attorneys and the hilarity that would ensue.
That's why Sharpton's threat of litigation against El Rushbo based on the latter's assertions made in a weekend Wall Street Journal Op-Ed ultimately won't amount to much.
But what it does point to is the extreme ideological warfare emerging in this country today, where everything has been politicized, even football. Sharpton and Friends have had a real taste of victory this week by thwarting Rush's St Louis Rams bid and are now looking to build on it. Winning a mere battle isn't enough while war rages.
Here, legal analyst / law professor Ann Althouse spells out precisely why Sharpton must be bluffing:
I think Limbaugh was baiting Sharpton. Sharpton now has to talk about those old riots and the way he acted back then. If he sues, it will draw intense attention to the details of what happened, and we'll have to debate about the precise language Limbaugh used and how close to accurate it was.
The question of the damage to Sharpton's reputation will be put in issue, and there will be discovery and factfinding relating to Sharpton's reputation and how much money it is worth. That's pretty risky for Sharpton, who likes to pose as an elder statesman nowadays. Meanwhile, Limbaugh, who may not want to begin any litigation, will have the opportunity to counterclaim, accusing Sharpton of defamation.
At the same time, however, Sharpton's threats give the state-run, Obama-supporting Associated Press additional opportunities to take shots at Limbaugh (which might be the former's real goal):
Limbaugh wrote that Sharpton played "a leading role in the 1991 Crown Heights riot" and the "1995 Freddie’s Fashion Mart riot" in a Wall Street Journal column published Saturday. Sharpton called both allegations false.
Sharpton was not present for or involved in the rioting in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights section in 1991. And he wasn’t present during the 1995 massacre at Freddie’s Fashion Mart, where there was no riot.
A Sharpton spokesman says that if Limbaugh doesn’t apologize or clarify his remarks, the reverend will sue.
If Limbaugh were off the mark here, there's simply no way those sentences would have been spared the editor's axe in the Wall Street Journal, where both editorial standards and legal liability is at stake.
But we certainly don't want to get in the way of Al's litigation and the inevitably counterproductive result. Sue away, "Reverend", America can't wait.
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