A federal judge has tossed a lawsuit filed by the “birther” website WND against Esquire magazine over a satirical post that claimed the website formerly known as WorldNetDaily was no longer standing behind a book claiming President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States.
WND founder Joseph Farah told TPM he was considering suing shortly after the publication of a post claiming WND was withdrawing the book after Obama released a copy of his long form birth certificate.
U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer dismissed the suit, calling the Esquire post a “satirical comment on an issue of public concern.” WND and the co-plaintiffs named in the suit had been seeking $120 million in damages — $100 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages plus legal costs.
“Having become such well-known proponents of one position on the issue, Plaintiffs cannot complain that the very intensity of their advocacy also became part of the public debate,” wrote Collyer. “Those who speak with loud voices cannot be surprised if they become part of the story.”
Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch who served as WND’s attorney in the case, told TPM the opinion appeared hastily written and that it was hinged on an “alleged admission from Joseph Farah that this thing was a parody.” Klayman said Farah was being sarcastic.
“It looks to me like Judge Collyer is kowtowing to the Washington establishment, which doesn’t want to touch any of these issues, to simply dump the case,” Klayman said, adding they planned to appeal.
“We’re disappointed that it’s going to take us so long to get it back into federal court, but back into federal court it surely will come,” Klayman said.