Green Room

Court decides Murtha cannot be sued for slandering U.S. Marines

posted at 4:15 am on April 15, 2009 by

In May 2006 antiwar Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) accused US marines of killing innocent Iraqis “in cold blood” after TIME magazine published a piece of Al-Qaeda propaganda about an deadly incident in Haditha, Iraq.

In May 2006 antiwar Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) also announced that there was a grand coverup to to stifle the story:

Notice the ABC headline: “Worse than Abu Ghraib”
Murtha was wrong.
7 of 8 US marines have now had their charges dismissed.

Yesterday, a federal court decided that Rep. John Murtha cannot be sued for slandering the Haditha marines.

The AP reported, via Instapundit:

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that Rep. John Murtha cannot be sued for accusing U.S. Marines of murdering Iraqi civilians ‘in cold blood,’ remarks that sparked outrage among conservative commentators. The appeals court in Washington dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought by a Marine who led the squad in the attack. The judges agreed with Murtha that he was immune from the lawsuit because he was acting in his official role as a lawmaker when he made the comments to reporters.

7 of 8 marines who have now had their charges dismissed.
One marine awaits justice.

Photos via Defend Our Marines.
John Murtha slandered the Haditha Marines when he gave several interviews after the inaccurate story broke in TIME Magazine saying that the US marines killed innocent civilians in cold blood. It was later discovered that the story was fed to the media and Murtha by radical Islamists in Iraq.

John Murtha has never apologized to these innocent US Marines.

Cross-posted at http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/.

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Comments

Unfortunately, public officials can get away with these kinds of comments. The price they pay is that they lose most methods to sue those who slander them.

Someone could put up various slanders about John Murtha with little fear of being sued.

I would not recommend anything to damage the credibility of a slandered veteran. However , a parody site tracking “registered sex offender John Murtha” might seem like a form of justice.

Right_of_Attila on April 15, 2009 at 6:49 AM

Rep. Murtha lives a charmed life. I have to believe that all of this will come back to bite him.

Cindy Munford on April 15, 2009 at 7:11 AM

The price to pay for this hideous creature, is the punishment he will receive not only from the men/woman who serve us so bravely in uniform, but from civilians across this great nation who also have sons & daughters serving.

This man is truly a pig in a suit.

Thanks for covering this and giving it more exposure!

Keemo on April 15, 2009 at 7:47 AM

The judges agreed with Murtha that he was immune from the lawsuit because he was acting in his official role as a lawmaker when he made the comments to reporters.

What a load. He wasn’t speaking in the House, so it wasn’t protected speech. Here MPs have refused to repeat comments they made inside the Commons outside of the Commons because they knew they would be sued for making them.

federal employees immunity from lawsuits arising out of acts they undertake in the course of their official duties

He’s also not a federal employee, he’s an elected representative. But let’s accept that argument. So the slandered Marines should just sue the federal government for the actions of their employee in civil court making the argument he wasn’t acting in his official duties seeing as, unlike for a dog catcher, I’m pretty sure there are no job descriptions of a representative’s official duties. And if there are, I doubt it includes going on Larry King Live.

andycanuck on April 15, 2009 at 9:53 AM

Unfortunately, public officials can get away with these kinds of comments. The price they pay is that they lose most methods to sue those who slander them.

Someone could put up various slanders about John Murtha with little fear of being sued.

That’s not true. Murtha didn’t get off because of the “public person” defense to slander; he has immunity, meaning the suit cannot even be brought.

Someone could definitely be sued successfully for saying things about Murtha. The fact that he is a public person means only that he would need to prove that the Defendant knew the things he said weren’t true, or that he was reckless regarding their truth.

Muswell Hillbilly on April 15, 2009 at 2:29 PM