Go figure: Gotcha lawyer Gloria Allred has proved herself more than willing to embroil herself in the controversy that continues to plague radio host Rush Limbaugh. The president of the Women’s Equal Rights Legal Defense and Education Fund sent a letter to the county prosecutor of West Palm Beach, Florida, to call for an investigation into whether Limbaugh violated Florida defamation law. From TPM:
Allred cites Section 836.04 of Florida Statute, which says that “whoever speaks of and concerning any woman, married or unmarried, falsely and maliciously imputing to her a want of chastity, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.”
“Mr. Limbaugh has publicly acknowledged that his reference to Ms. Fluke as a ‘slut’ and ‘prostitute’ were baseless and false,” Allred writes. “In view of the fact that Mr. Limbaugh resides in your county and allegedly made the false statements concerning Ms. Fluke in your county as well, this letter is directed to your office.”
Limbaugh might have spoken falsely — in case the question lingers, Sandra Fluke is not actually a prostitute — but whether he spoke maliciously is another matter. His apology could be construed to bolster the case either for or against him. For him, in that his apology states clearly that he had no intention to cause harm to Ms. Fluke. Against him, in that his apology might be taken as evidence that he thinks he did cause harm to her — and that might be used to suggest he originally spoke with the intention to harm her.
Limbaugh’s point in calling Fluke a “prostitute” was not to discredit Fluke herself or to imply that she actually takes money for sex, but to illustrate the grubbing nature of her argument for the administration’s contraception mandate. Limbaugh’s argument was not particularly refined, but it was also not malicious in either the normal or legal sense of the word.
No matter — that I’m parsing the legal definition of malice in this case indicates just how overblown it has become. Limbaugh has become — for the time being at least — a liberal whipping boy and Sandra Fluke has become a sainted martyr.
As further proof of the latter, the PR firm of former Obama adviser Anita Dunn on Monday started to represent
Fluke pro bono. The left is clearly invested in her as a campaign prop, as Bill O’Reilly explained
on his program last night.