WASHINGTON (CN) – A federal judge dismissed the defamation suit against a radio talk-show host who contributed to a dubious memoir that leveled accusations of gay sex, drug use and murder at President Barack Obama.
The lawsuit stems from the largely discredited accusations leveled at Obama during his presidential campaign. In May 2008, Larry Sinclair made headlines when he posted a short YouTube video in which he claimed that he and Obama had engaged in gay sex and drug use one night in a limousine during Obama’s tenure as an Illinois state senator in 1999.
Daniel Parisi, a political blogger, challenged Sinclair to take a polygraph, and the results indicated that Sinclair had lied.
Rather than back down from his allegations, however, Sinclair published “Barack Obama & Larry Sinclair: Cocaine, Sex Lies & Murder?”, a 2009 memoir that accuses Parisi of colluding with Obama’s adviser David Axelrod to rig the polygraph. The book also claims Obama tried to cover up the murder of a church choir director, who Sinclair says was Obama’s other gay lover.
Jeffrey Rense, an Ashland, Ore.-based radio talk-show host, wrote the book’s foreword.
Parisi claimed Rense defamed him in the foreword and used his website and radio show as a means to conspire against him.
In a motion to dismiss the claims against him, Rense noted that he has never been to Washington, D.C., that his radio show does not air in the D.C. listening area, and that his website does not target Washington residents or advertising dollars.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon agreed that Parisi failed to establish personal jurisdiction and dismissed the claims against Rense.
Parisi had claimed that the Sinclair book doomed his website Whitehouse.com, but the book was published in February 2009, months after the website shut down.
“Although plaintiffs allege generally that all defendants have continuous and systematic contacts with D.C. and have been and are conducting business in D.C., they offer no evidence to support this allegation as to Rense, and such conclusory statements, alone, are of no value,” Leon wrote (emphasis in original).
“In sum, plaintiffs’ conclusory allegations and lack of factual evidence do not satisfy the statutory requirements necessary to establish a prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction,” he added. “Further, the court denies plaintiffs’ request for jurisdictional rediscovery because it, too, would be based on mere speculative conclusions offered by plaintiffs as to defendant’s contacts with the district.”
Leon’s ruling does not address the fate of Parisi’s claims against Sinclair, Sinclair Publishing, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com and Books-a-Million.
Parisi, who is represented by Richard Oparil with Patton Boggs, also has a parallel federal lawsuit pending against Ingram and Lightening Source, the two “print on demand” vanity presses that actually printed up copies of Sinclair’s book. Judge Leon is handling that case as well.
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