Author Can’t Fight U.K. Libel Judgment In U.S.

     NEW YORK (CN) – The 2nd Circuit has rejected most of author Rachel Ehrenfeld’s bid to have a U.S. court declare that a libel judgment against her in the U.K. over statements in her book “Funding Evil: How Terrorism Is Financed – and How to Stop It” is unenforceable in the United States.




     Ehrenfeld’s book, published in 2003, contains allegedly libelous statements asserting that Saudi bank executive Khalid Salim bin Mahfouz provided material support to al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
     Mahfouz sued the author in a London court, a venue Ehrenfeld claims was chosen based on more favorable libel laws for Mahfouz.
     When she failed to appear in court, a $225,000 judgment was entered against her. Ehrenfeld then sued Mahfouz in Manhattan Federal Court, seeking a declaration that the U.K. judgment is unenforceable under New York’s long-arm statute.
     On remand from the 2nd Circuit, the state appeals court determined that the long-arm statute does not give personal jurisdiction over Mahfouz’s action.
     The author appealed and asked the circuit to assert personal jurisdiction over Mahfouz on First Amendment grounds.
     But her failure to raise the free-speech claim earlier in the proceedings amounts to a waiver of the claim, the court said.
     “For a number of reasons, plaintiff’s arguments are legally unavailing,” Judge Feinberg wrote.

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