You No Longer Have the Right to a Jury Trial

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I was wronged. All I wanted was a trial by jury, a right enshrined in Anglo-Saxon legal tradition in the Magna Carta 803 years ago.

Is this still America? No. America is dead.

Not only have I been denied that fundamental right, I have been punished for having had the temerity to seek redress in the courts.

Justice is when wrongdoers are punished and victims are compensated. Instead, the California court system has provided Anti-Justice. The wrongdoers are getting off scot-free. I, the victim, am not merely being ignored or brushed off. I am being actively punished.

The ruling in Ted Rall v. Los Angeles Times et al. came down last week. The California Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the Times’ “anti-SLAPP” motion against me. Anti-SLAPP law supporters, including the Times, say they’re supposed to be used by poor individuals to defend their First Amendment rights against big companies. But that’s BS. The Times—owned by the $500 million Tronc corporation when I filed suit, now owned by $7 billion biotechnology entrepreneur Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong—abused anti-SLAPP to destroy me.

My case was simple. I drew cartoons mocking the LAPD and then-Chief Charlie Beck for the Times, criticizing them for abusing people of color and the poor. A new publisher, Beck’s pal, took over. Beck asked publisher Austin Beutner to fire me and to smear me so I couldn’t work anymore. So the Times ran two pieces announcing that I’d been fired, not for offending Beck—violating their own Ethical Guidelines, they kept his identity secret—but for supposedly lying in a blog post discussing a jaywalking arrest in 2001. I hadn’t lied. I told the truth. And I proved it.
“One hell of a defamation case,” a lawyer told me. Another, a top expert on libel, said: “If you don’t win your case, defamation law in California is dead.”

But as the Times’ lawyer kept saying in court, “the quote/unquote truth doesn’t matter.” She was right. What mattered were power, money and influence.

The ruling means my case will probably never go to trial. The court has already ordered me to pay $330,000 to the Times for their legal fees because hey, a guy with $7 billion obviously needs and deserves to get cash from a cartoonist the Times used to pay $300 a week. That sum will definitely be higher—perhaps double—by the time the Times files the rest of its padded legal fees.

I will never get discovery, which means neither I nor the readers of the Times will ever learn the details about how then-publisher Austin Beutner (now superintendent of LA schools, where teachers are on strike because Beutner doesn’t want to give them a proper raise) arranged for the LAPD pension fund to become #1 shareholder of the Times’ parent company. Neither I nor the readers of the Times will ever know just how deep the corruption between the LA Times and the LAPD went, or to what extent the Times agreed to provide police-friendly coverage.

For me personally the ruling necessarily means bankruptcy and/or being forced to leave the United States so I can continue to earn a living. This used to be the kind of thing that happened to journalists in other countries, not the U.S. Unfortunately, I couldn’t even get the ACLU behind me—because they don’t want to be seen as opposing the anti-SLAPP law.

I’m much luckier than Jamal Khashoggi—though the scorched-earth litigation tactics and lies deployed by National Enquirer/LA Times attorney Kelli Sager makes me pretty sure they would do the same thing to me if they could get away with it.

But the court’s real message isn’t directed toward me. What the court did in brazen deference to the LAPD and the LA Times and in direct opposition of the law was to send a message to journalists in California: do not mess with the cops and do not mess with a newspaper owned by the cops.

If you do your jobs, we will crush you.

At a time when reporters who still get to work are grateful to merely see their salaries slashed rather than join the ranks of the unemployed, you’d have to be a total goddamned idiot to criticize law enforcement.

There is one last slim reed of hope: the California Supreme Court. I am petitioning the high court to reverse the Court of Appeal’s anti-SLAPP ruling. But the odds are long. They hear fewer than five percent of appeals.

During his confirmation hearing Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh said that as a judge he wanted even the losing side to come out of the process feeling that his side had been heard and carefully considered.

I feel the opposite.

Since the start of my case it has been painfully obvious that the fix was in. As the plaintiff and as the victim of deliberate and repeated libel on behalf of one of the most corrupt police agencies in the country, I was the aggrieved party. Yet the courts treated me just like the Times did when they canned me: I was guilty until proven innocent and guilty even after having been proven innocent.

Pretzel logic has been a constant since 2015, when Beutner’s Times ran a piece about me which read that “a man and a woman can be heard speaking in the background at one point, but only a few of their words are intelligible…[they] appear to be having a conversation unrelated to the jaywalking stop.” Hey morons: if you can’t hear what they’re saying, how can you hear what they’re not saying?

The court’s ruling was no more intelligent.

The anti-SLAPP law requires judges to consider a theoretical construct at the anti-SLAPP stage of a case. Without judging the evidence, assume that the plaintiff’s case is 100% as presented, 100% accurate, all his evidence 100% true. Then assume that nothing the defense says is true. Would there be a smidge of a case there? If yes, the case moves forward.

As in many other anti-SLAPP cases, the judges didn’t even pretend to do that.

When my attorney Jeffrey Lewis mentioned that basic aspect of anti-SLAPP during oral arguments (listen here), the judges reacted as though they’d never heard such a thing before! Times lawyer Sager knew Lewis was correct which is why she didn’t touch the issue in her rebuttal. Yet the ruling in favor of the defendants didn’t mention, much less rebut the evidence rule. To the contrary: the justices ignored my arguments and evidence, assuming everything I said to be false. And they took everything the Times said, not at face value—because anyone reading the pieces could tell they were false—but beyond, crediting their goodwill beyond even what the Times alleged in its defense (for example, saying that the Times sent my enhanced audio for professional analysis, something the Times never claimed).

A couple decades ago I wrote that the court system was the last functional branch of government, the final resting place of the proposition that injustice could be addressed even when the villain was powerful. Perhaps I was right then. It certainly isn’t true now.

Any American who trusts the court system is a fool.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of “Francis: The People’s Pope.” You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)


  • Shit. Defamation law in California is indeed dead. You got fucked, we both know it, and there’s not much else to say (other than a sincere expression of sympathy – that and five bucks will get you a cup of coffee.)


    Much like the Constitution today, the protections of the Magna Carta worked much better for the Barons than the little people.

    • Yes, I will definitely appeal but it probably will go nowhere.

      • Jeez, man – did you run over the judge’s dog or something?

        Been there – settled out of court, but it turns out that was a mistake. I’m now unemployable, hopefully this doesn’t reflect on you the same way.

  • Post-truth world!
    This same doctor also bought the hospital system I used to work for. After driving it into bankruptcy he bought the LA Times! Look up Verity health system. Hoping the CA attorney general approves the sale of my former hospital in San Jose to the county hospital system, but he is putting up roadblocks. My former co-workers need jobs!

  • Jesus, Ted. What a bunch of fuckers. Really sorry. Chris Hedges’ column today is worth a look. More strictly about corporate power but close enough.

  • alex_the_tired
    January 22, 2019 7:43 AM

    And when will the appeals court inform you of their decision?
    I feel like I’ve fallen through a crack in reality and ended up in Bizarro world. You got fired based on a copy of a tape that is unintelligible, and which, apparently, no one will state the origin of. And, somehow, via magical thinking, this is sufficient to label you a liar.

    AND WHERE IS THE OUTCRY FROM THE JOURNALISM COMMUNITY? Where’s FAIR? Where’s CJR? Where’s EFF? How about CBLDF? Why WON’T the ACLU touch this? How about the legal entities that ought to be shitting their pants right now?

    • The decision is final. We can and will apply to CA Supreme Court, but odds are that they will refuse to hear our petition for appeal. Then my case will be over.

      The origin of the copy of the tape is still unknown. We suspect it came from the policeman’s old dusty personal files, which means it’s outside the chain of evidence. But that’s pure speculation.

      Journalists give no shits whatsoever.

      FAIR offered to sign an amicus brief but doesn’t have money to write one.

      CJR has been silent.

      EFF favors the anti-SLAPP law and so refuses to help.

      CBDLF has offered to sign an amicus brief.

      ACLU, like EFF, says they won’t side against anti-SLAPP.

      • ACLU, like EFF, says they won’t side against anti-SLAPP.

        Same damn ACLU that threw out the Communists back in 1940. Like the lack of justice in the US (In)Justice system, nothing surprising here either….


      • PS : As to the right to a jury trial in civil cases «where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars» as guaranteed in the 7th Amendment to the US Constitution, the English-language version of Wikipediahas a summary worth reading….


      • I note that one of our more frequent but less literate posters here cites the following subordinate clause from the English-language version of Wikipedia to which I linked above : «While the Seventh Amendment’s provision for jury trials in civil cases has never been incorporated (i.e., applied to the states) …» but, for some odd reason, found citing the remainder of the sentence, i e, the main clause, beyond her/him. Allow me here to help out ; the sentence in its entirety reads : «While the Seventh Amendment’s provision for jury trials in civil cases has never been incorporated (i.e., applied to the states) almost every state voluntarily complies with this requirement». More information is to be found further down in the article : «Nonetheless, most states voluntarily guarantee the right to a civil jury trial,[18] and they must do so in certain state court cases that are decided under federal law.» What then is the situation obtaining in California, the jurisdiction in which Ted’s case was tried – or not, depending upon how one views the matter ?

        California Code of Civil Procedure

        Section 631(a) of the California Code of Civil Procedure guarantees the right to a jury trial in civil cases. That right can be waived, but only under specific circumstances:

        When the party does not make an appearance at trial;
        When the party files written consent to waive a jury trial with the court;
        When consent is given orally in open court and the court minutes disclose such;
        When the party does not pay fees associated with the trial in a timely manner;
        When the party does not state that a jury will be necessary when the cause is initially set for trial;
        If amounts associated with jury fees (as outlined in subdivision (e)) are not paid on the second and succeeding days as required by the court.

        The court found that when an agreement to forego a jury trial is signed prior to a court filing, it is mute. In other words, written consent is not binding unless a suit has been filed with the court. The right of a jury trial in California is legally inviolate; when in doubt, it is necessary to resolve the issue in favor of allowing a jury trial.


      • To Henri:

        Here’s a link to the anti-SLAPP law itself

        Section “g)” refers to (temporary?) stay of discovery.

  • 🙁

  • You fought the good fight. I am proud to have donated to your case. The state of the country is bleak indeed. At a time when cartoonists are most needed they find themselves under attack. Thanks for seeing it through; good luck with your supreme court appeal. Bankruptcy sounds like yet another journey through hell, but will be yet another badge of honor. In a country ruled by criminals, you still have your honor, which is something money cannot buy.

    • Thank you for getting it. “Honor” is not the subject of much discussion in the US these days, but this whole fight has been about honor. Now it has expanded into a fight again corruption and entrenched power that does not care about anything other than maintaining control.

  • Sorry, Ted.

    Ironically, on MLK Jr. Day, we read of the “bounced check” for Ted’s right to a trial by jury.

    More of us of all colors are getting the “bouncing promissory note” for the debts of justice promised to us by the Bill of Rights.

    We should always understand that injustices against the least of us, if tolerated by most of us, will one day be visited upon the rest of us.

  • The laws that prevent you from having a jury trial violate the Constitution.

    But the violation of the Constitution means little to the people who would partially shut down the government, contrary to the clause that allows no exception:

    “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”

    Impeach Trump for spending money drawn from the Treasury without “Appropriations made by Law”.

    It’s up to the House to bring impeachment now, and for cause.

    Or shut the fuck up.

    • alex_the_tired
      January 22, 2019 8:08 PM

      I still say Pelosi’s going to cave.

      Trump’s deal offers a 3-year extension to the DACA people. She’ll take it, I suspect. Why?
      The last thing anyone in power in Washington wants is for DACA to be resolved rationally: Grant all DACAs permanent resident cards, review any criminal records and exclude violent criminals and financial grifters, put them all at the end of the line for citizenship (everyone who did it the right way goes first), and when they pass the citizenship exam and so forth, they become American citizens. You could hammer out the details in an afternoon.
      But that would be the end of all the fundraising terror letters to each side. And that means a lot of high-level types who get a lot of money from the Republicans and the democrats will suddenly be out of a lot of money. Roe v. Wade, despite the media scare tactics, is becoming less relevant each year. Most abortions are done by prescription now, not visits to a clinic. Many clinic abortions are because the developing fetus has been found to have profound defects (half of all fertilizations end in spontaneous abortion). Universal single-payer, and more in-school instruction on birth control, human sexuality, etc., would cut the number of abortions even further.
      By taking Trump’s deal, Pelosi gets to help funnel billions in pork barrel to an industry that desperately needs some money coming to it. Some of that will funnel back into her campaign coffers and the dnc coffers and the RNC coffers.
      In three years? Shit, maybe the bankers will have crashed the economy again, and Pelosi’s friend Mnuchin will be tasked with deciding which banks deserve bailing out.

      Further predictions? I hate to say it, but I fear for the fabulous notorious RBG. I recall that when Bill Bixby was dying from (I think) liver cancer, his people put out a release that said he’d gone into spontaneous remission or had responded to treatment or whatever, so that he could be left alone by the media for his last few days. This was back when such a tactic was easier to pull off. He died about five weeks later.
      I am very concerned that RBG’s people have done the same thing here.

      • > Trump’s deal offers a 3-year extension to the DACA people.

        That’s what it says right there on the label, anyway. Actually it gives with one hand & takes with the other.

        Not that I don’t generally agree with you – I do; but Trump’s “offer” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

        It’d be dumb for Pelosi to cave … but … oh, right – Pelosi. ’nuff said.

  • Any American who trusts the court system is a fool.

    And you are surprised, Ted ? In the plutocracy formally known as the United States of America ?…

    My condolences….


  • This sucks.

    I sometimes found myself running a little behind your call for revolution when it comes to changing the system from outside vs exhausting all inside options first. Here you have meticulously worked within the officially designated channels to redress wrongdoing. I am truly sorry that you have to pay the price to demonstrate that they made a farce of the right to trial by peers.

    My own gut feeling is that trial by peers is precisely at issue – as opposed to arbitrary preemption by professional judge.

    Asking a judge to effectively take sides against a media corporation plus the police chief plus the (mis)-application of a state law (Anti-SLAPP) is a tall order – you have all the legitimate institutions lined up like ducks…

    At the heart of professionalism is the training to decide a case the way the ruling class would decide it – that training is precisely what enabled the ruling class to outsource administration without direct supervision to the professional class in the first place. The ideal of disinterested rulings in practice may only be reached when adjudicating the claims of one professional body over another of similar standing…

    You may pass as an educated professional from comportment – enough to create some level of cognitive dissonance in judges. Yet clearly you have violated the first rule of professionalism by questioning the legitimacy of other professionals. You can almost feel them thinking: doesn’t this person know enough not to shoot an own goal? So already by bringing this very lawsuit you show that you don’t actually belong to the august gentlemen’s club. (This would of course work very much in your favor with actual peers ;-))

    Perversely the CA supreme court (not that I know their record) may actually be somewhat less hostile territory since they are presumably a bit more used to deciding systemic questions (such as Anti-SLAPP shenanigans) rather than routine gate-keeping. So hoping against hope that they agree to hear your case…

  • Given: Ted got screwed, we agree on that, but I gotta do a fact check anyway.

    Ted’s not entitled to a jury trial here. Why? Because the constitution only grants that right to those accused of a crime.

    But the problem goes deeper than that, The Times *is* guilty of a crime here. Libel is against the law, so is “wrongful termination.” However, the way the system works today, it’s almost always handled as a civil suit. Not only are the rules different, but the government doesn’t have to foot the bill.

    I went through it in my own case – I got fucked, the company’s own records showed they were lying, and so I took it to the governmental agency in charge. Said agency went back to the company, and asked “Did you do anything wrong?” – company responded “no” and that was the end of it. They didn’t even bother to ask to look at the evidence, let alone review it.

    There are already plenty of consumer and employee protection laws on the books, but if the gubbmint won’t enforce them, the corporations win by default. (And they’re too big to fight unless you are a government.)

    • re: Wikipedia article on 7th Amendment, quote “While the Seventh Amendment’s provision for jury trials in civil cases has never been incorporated (i.e., applied to the states) …”

      IOW, the Federal Constitution does not guarantee a jury for state civil suits, as originally posted. Ted’s suit is filed with the State of California.

      I’d love it see it go to the US “Supreme” court, but SLAPP and libel are a state laws – they don’t have jurisdiction.

      • I suppose it’s moot, given that the actual document cited is the Magna Carta. (Not the constitution, as I mistakenly thought.)

  • Ted, just to show your old friend Austin Michael Beutner that you hold no grudges, how about a cartoon on the victorious teachers’ strike at LAUSD ?… 😉


  • Ted

    Here’s the thing. You misunderstood what you meant about the judicial system being a functioning branch of government. All the branches of government are functioning fine. The thing is, their function is to protect the bourgeoisie. That’s it. It’s their only function. They’re very good at it.

    • Agreed. While it may seem from the antics occurring in Washington, that US government branches are not optimally fulfilling their function to protect the bourgeoise, it should be kept in mind that that function includes entertaining the troops, which is being done in a manner and to a degree which is perhaps unparalleled. (Whether the policies emenating from the government – the technological war on China, the escalating hostitlity towards Russia, etc, etc, will ultimately succeed in protecting the (US) bourgeoisie is another matter, but at the moment, it’s the greatest show on Earth !…)


    • “You misunderstood what you meant.” Man, gotta love that.

      Maybe you meant to say “I disagree”?

      • I think it’s worth expanding on my brief comment. We live in the age of ascendant manipulation–of individuals, of institutions, of narratives, of meaning. In stead of the old fashioned way of being clear and making our case and letting it stand on it’s merits, we seek to appear better or smarter or trickier in performative fashion. It’s insidious and infecting virtually all aspects of our social life. Please consider what it suggests if one, instead of stating disagreement, presumes to suggest that the person one disagrees with misunderstands their own meaning. Sound familiar at all? In the context of the original column here? Get it???

  • alex_the_tired
    January 24, 2019 8:02 AM

    Ted has already mentioned the Left’s tendency to eat their own. But I am genuinely shocked at the dangerous precedent this sets: a lawyer who argues that the truth doesn’t matter, the null response from so many in the media, the cricket-deafened silence from the ethics entities of both the law and the media.

    Ted’s made a lot of enemies. I am genuinely shocked that they aren’t coming forth by the carload to gloat. It’s almost like they realize Ted got the shaft but can’t take any real part in the celebrations or the autopsying because the case appears so flimsy that it won’t bear closer examination.

    For about the past 10 years, I’ve been debating about the point of continuing in a journalism career. The jobs are harder to come by, the end work is usually more and more inferior with each jaw-dropping iteration that the government doesn’t want you to know about, the pay is never what it should be, the layoffs come more and more frequently (phrasing!), and now I watch as someone gets thrown to the wolves while practically no one says boo about it.

    I really think this is the time for me to end my journalism career.

  • Upon reflection, Ted is absolutely, positively, 100% *NOT* entitled to a jury trial under state or federal law. That’s the right of the defendant.

    Sorry, Ted, even tho you are the victim here, you’re playing offense.

    I rest my case. :: cough ::

    • The LA Times fired Ted for an unproven cause and violated their corporate employee manual by the manner in which they did so.

      The LAT could have simply told Ted they didn’t need his services anymore without impugning his character, thereby damaging his reputation and future employment prospects.

      • True ‘dat, but he’s still the plaintiff.

      • True ‘dat, but he’s still the plaintiff.

        Hmm, we* seem to be falling behind the Magna Carta here (*property owning men). Or perhaps it is just the legal system has been gentrified to reflect to new distribution of power and wealth.

        WHEREAS by the great charter many times confirmed in parliament, it is enacted, That no freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or disseised of his freehold or liberties, or free customs, or be outlawed or exiled or otherwise destroyed, and that the King will not pass upon him, or condemn him; but by lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land…
        (from wikipedia link to Magna Carta that Ted provided in the article)

        Is is bad enough that everything around is slowly becoming concentrated private property dangled in front of us as carrots to be pulled away on a whim and quite legally so. When they revoked Ted’s contract they blatantly did not act in harmony with the law of the land.

        I am pretty sure had the LAT revoked a contract with, say, Heinz ketchup and pulled their advertising claiming that Heinz lied about the volume of ground-up rat in their product (with no or self-defeating evidence) – they would have gotten their asses handed to them in court.

      • @A5 – true dat.

        As shown by the quote provided, the MC also considered a jury trial to be a right of the accused, not a right of the accuser.

    • So if a pedestrian gets hit by a car while walking on a sidewalk, or sitting in a cafe, and takes the role of a plaintiff, a judge must give his personal approval (however biased he may be) before allowing the suit to be filed, and will award fees from the pocket of the pedestrian to be paid to the alleged driver of the offending car if the judge does not find the facts of the pedestrian’s cause of action (all before discovery has made the facts available) to be sufficient to go before a jury.

      I always thought that a jury was to be the finder of fact, not the presiding judge.

      And the judge presumes to sufficiently know the facts before allowing (or disallowing) discovery of the facts.

      The court has denied and penalized Ted for pursuing a finding of fact.

      Without knowledge of the facts, on what basis can the judge presume to know who is at fault, except by his prejudice that the police and the corporate media are good bets (bets not hurting his re-election prospects) to be more worthy of credibility than one who makes a living as a critic of these incredible institutions?

      But then, the law is a mask that the state puts on when it wants to commit some indecency upon the oppressed.

      • To Glenn,

        Your analogy is illustrative but I don’t think cases of bodily harm are treated the same as was Ted’s case.

        I think all the discussion here ignores the general, incontrovertible fact that the FIRST step in virtually any US legal case is the protracted exercise to determine if the essential issue of the case may be heard at all by a jury. (And not all cases are jury cases.)

        The standard obstacles are well established and exercised, having been made/controlled by big $$$$$’s.

        This is why John Edward’s, a (biological) personal injury lawyer, who won many cases and $millions of rewards from negligent corporate persons, was quickly banished from the 2004 Dem presidential nomination race.
        The public excuse was simply the vehicle not the actual reason for his dismissal.^^^

        The legal hurdles range*** from filing deadlines and particularities, claimed $-damage limits, valid jurisdiction, probable cause hearing, etc., up to Ted’s case, which
        was smothered by the abusive co-option of one of the rare “pro-little persons laws,” by the psychopathic, vicious, corporate fuckwads.

        ^^^ Of course, the crimes of sexual battery by self-avowed pussy grabbers are ignored, perhaps even envied, if one’s reputation (more corrupt the better) is the service of $$$$$’s.

        *** listing hardly comprehensive

  • alex_the_tired
    January 25, 2019 10:29 PM

    I think Ted still has a chance to get this reversed (or reconsidered or whatever the hell they call a do-over in the law profession) but I think he has to wage an offensive campaign.
    1. Where the hell are the newspapers on this? I see no articles of any kind in any major “traditional” papers. Where are the public editors? Why isn’t each one weighing in on this? Don’t give me any of this “we only deal with this paper’s issues. What’s being done to Ted–and the silence surrounding it–is very much a case of a paper failing to admonish another publication’s violation of what should be considered generally agreed upon standards: you don’t railroad employees as a favor to the police. Ted should send a request to each paper with a PE, asking for a declarative statement as to why they have remained silent. (And if I were Ted, I’d save all the statements for the final chapter in the book he’s gonna eventually write. He could title that chapter “The Silence of Our Friends.”)
    2. Ditto the Columbia Journalism Review and other magazines that follow journalism–The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, The Nation. Specifically ask for help. Be sure to keep the e-mails; that last chapter could run to half the book. I’d also throw in whatever significant journalism departments remain at the U.S. colleges and universities. Call up the professors; be blunt–“I’m being crucified and the ‘evidence’ is total horseshit. Could you offer any advice? Could you alert your students to this? They may find it instructive.” This could actually be a revenue stream in the future. “Hey, kids. Here’s how a whole lot of ‘journalists’ tried to lop off my professional head and here’s how the entire profession basically looked the other way while it happened.
    3. The lawyers. Shouldn’t lawyers be very alarmed about this? And judges? I realize there’s a lot of shade thrown at lawyers, and having followed this case, I can see why. But not all these lawyers are assholes. I have to think that somewhere in California is an organization that is genuinely shocked about this all.
    4. Contact the teachers union in Los Angeles. Ask them if they have any advice for someone who was also shafted by Beutner. One of them might have a number in the rolodex that will help.
    As before, Ted. I’m wishing you luck.

    • The answer to number 1 is easy: newspapers want the right to do to their staffers what the Times did to me. No way will they go against the Times.

      • Oh, that’s telling – perhaps there are still a few editorialists with balls enough to write about this. But the column gets turfed by the editor (or more likely, the owner)

        I like that story better than the one where balls have gone missing.

  • Very sorry to hear this news Ted. This is small consolation, but I am 100% sure the people at the LA Times who are aware of your case will not treat future employees the way they treated you. Even winning a court case is a horrendous expensive ordeal. My small company of 10 people was sued by a billion dollar corporation for hiring one of their employees a few years ago. We won in court. If the future we will be more careful. Landing in court simply isn’t worth the aggravation.

    I was crossing my fingers for you but I always thought your case a longshot. Politically no one wants to hurt already dying newspapers. (Consolation #2: you’ll outlive the LA Times, I’m 100% sure of that). The 1st amendment gives newspapers extreme liberties. They can say pretty much whatever they want even if it’s wrong. It’s almost impossible to prove libel in the USA. The bar is insanely high.

    • To Andy,

      But do the extreme liberties given newspapers, justifiable, by the first amendment extend from fulfilling the primary purpose of their work into the management of their employees?

      You should note that the substance of the case against libel, unfair termination or whatever WAS NEVER considered.

      The LAT co-opted and abused the, so-called “anti-SLAPP” laws, using them to prevent the goal they were written to achieve, that is, allowing the non-rich access to the courts.

      It used this technique to block the revelation of
      the merits of Ted’s case.

    • Andy, your analysts is spot-on; newspapers are uniquely positioned as powerful entities that frame themselves as David when they are really Goliath. They violated the First Amendment by knowingly publishing libelous statements but the judges were determined to rule against me.

      • «They [i e, newspapers – in this case the Los Angeles Times] violated the First Amendment by knowingly publishing libelous statements but the judges were determined to rule against me.» Ted the first part of your comment above is false ; nothing in the First Amendment to the US Constitution says that what is said or written must be true (for, I suggest, obvious reasons). The second part, however, is all too true, but on the other hand, hardly surprising. I understand that you are going to appeal, but what are your plans if, as is likely, you lose ?…


  • Glad to hear Ted on Project Censored today. I hope more people hear it and can help.

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