Blogging LA Prosecutor Settles Defamation Case

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – A conservative political activist settled her suit against a Los Angeles County prosecutor who called her an illiterate liar on his blog.
     Nadia Naffe said the dispute arose after she helped her fellow activist James O’Keefe plant a bug in the office of U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, and the OneUnited offices where the congresswoman’s husband worked.
     Naffe’s relationship with O’Keefe turned sour, she said, when he allegedly drugged her and tried to sexually assault her in a renovated New Jersey barn.
     Very soon after filing a criminal harassment complaint against O’Keefe, Naffe said she faced backlash from Deputy District Attorney John Patrick Frey.
     Naffe then sued Frey in a 2012 federal complaint , claiming that Frey – for whom Naffe said she had once been a law school intern – used his right-wing blog “Patterico’s Pontifications” to call her “a liar, illiterate, callous, self-absorbed, despicable, a smear artist, dishonest, and absurd” and thus defaming her in his original capacity as a prosecutor, according to the complaint.
     A federal judge dismissed Naffe’s suit, finding that “Frey’s practice of simply (relatively frequently) mentioning the fact that he is a deputy district attorney or prosecutor does not transform everything he says on his blog or on Twitter into state action.”
     Although Naffe appealed the court’s decision, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal this past June, finding that “Naffe pleads no facts to support her allegation that the county authorized or encouraged Frey’s social and political commentary.”
     Frey announced the case’s settlement on Tuesday in a post on his blog entitled “Nadia Naffe Dismisses Lawsuit Against Me – Without Collecting a Penny.”
     Frey wrote that “it was interesting to be a defendant in a frivolous lawsuit.”
     Ken White, Frey’s attorney, said in an email that the case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning it can never be refiled.
     Frey agreed to waive any claims for fees and costs, and both parties waived all claims against each other arising from the suit, White said.
     He also said Frey paid nothing and was not required to retract any of his comments.
     “We view it as a win for Mr. Frey and for free speech,” White said. “It’s important that everyone – including public employees – be able to express themselves freely without fear of abusive lawsuits.”
     Naffe’s counsel did not immediately respond to request for comment on Wednesday.
     White is with Brown White in Los Angeles.

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