A federal judge in San Diego dismissed the One America News Network libel lawsuit against Rachel Maddow, MSNBC, and Comcast, concluding that Maddow was expressing his opinion when he said the right-leaning channel "really is literally Russian propaganda paid.
"Given the totality of the circumstances, including the general context of the statements, the specific context of the statements, and the susceptibility of the statements to be proven to be true or false, a reasonable fact investigator could only conclude that the statement was an opinion not made, "wrote US District Judge Cynthia Bashant in a 17-page ruling.
He also said the defendants could seek attorney fees and costs.
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The lawsuit, filed last fall in the United States District Court in San Diego, focused on one of Maddow's segments from July 22 of last year. Maddow opened his show by referencing a Daily Beast story and telling his audience that he reported that OANN "has a full-time on-air reporter covering US politics, who is also simultaneously on the Kremlin's payroll."
One of the United States had a particular problem when Maddow, in his segment, also said that "the most stubbornly pro-Trump right-wing media outlet in the United States is literally paid Russian propaganda."
Maddow made the statement after the Daily beast It published a story by Kevin Poulsen reporting that one of One America's on-air reporters, Kristian Brunovich Rouz, was also on the payroll for Sputnik, the Kremlin media outlet. An America then demanded a retraction.
In his lawsuit, One America said, “Rouz has never been an employee of the Sputnik News. He worked as a freelance for Sputnik News and his work there was unrelated to his work for OAN. Rouz submitted the items to Sputnik on his own and would receive approximately $ 40 if the items were accepted. "
The lawsuit also claimed Maddow's comments were retaliatory against One America because its president, Charles Herring, had called parent company Comcast "for its anti-competitive censorship" by refusing to run the conservative channel.
The lawsuit sought more than $ 10 million in damages.