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Reporter Can Dig for Adelson’s Salty Language

MANHATTAN (CN) — A Wall Street Journal reporter who raised Sheldon Adelson's ire by calling him "foul-mouthed" can snoop around for evidence of his tart language to defend a defamation lawsuit the billionaire filed against her in Hong Kong, the Second Circuit ruled.

Reporter Kate O'Keeffe joined a growing list of journalists who aroused the Republican casino magnate's fury three years ago, this time for questioning the chastity of the billionaire's tongue.

In 2013, Adelson sued the reporter in Hong Kong, a city home to one of his many Sands casinos.

O'Keeffe insists that what she wrote is true, and she hopes to prove it by questioning Adelson's former driver, Kwame Luangisa.

Since Hong Kong courts have stricter discovery rules, O'Keeffe subpoenaed Luangisa in New York, and U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts granted that request on April 1.

The Second Circuit upheld that decision in a three-page summary order on Thursday.

Judges Jose Cabranes, Chester Straub and Raymond Lohier unanimously agreed that Adelson's challenge was "meritless."

A Dow Jones spokeswoman said in an email that the publication is "gratified" by the ruling, which she noted joins similar courtroom victories from the Third Circuit and judges in Nevada and Florida.

"Dow Jones continues to vigorously support our reporter in this effort," spokeswoman Colleen Schwartz said.

Adelson's attorney did not immediately respond to an email request for comment Friday.

O'Keeffe has hardly been the only target of Adelson's lawsuits against reporters.

After Adelson bought out the Las Vegas Review-Journal, its columnist John L. Smith resigned with a passionate denunciation of the new owner's treatment of the press.

Smith filed for bankruptcy after Adelson sued him for $15 million in 2007.

At the time, Smith's daughter was being treated for brain cancer, and he rejected an offer of $200,000 from Adelson for her medical bills and education because he said he would not bend to the "billionaire bully."

"The case wasn't about defamation, but about making me an object lesson for my newspaper and other journalists who dared to criticize the billionaire," Smith wrote. "And if I should be crushed in the process, hey, so much the better."

Adelson, whom Forbes ranked the 10th richest person in the world, also sued National Jewish Democratic Council, its president David Harris and its chairman Mark Stanley for sending out a petition seeking to dethrone him as a Republican kingmaker in 2012.

The advocacy group had urged then-candidate Mitt Romney to stop taking Adelson's money with a link to an Associated Press report accusing the billionaire of putting foreign money from China in U.S. elections and suggesting that he approved of prostitution.

Adelson denied the allegations, which a fired former Sands executive leveled against him in a court declaration, according to the AP.

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