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All defendants agree to settlements in rally defamation lawsuit

All defendants have agreed to settlements in a defamation lawsuit brought by a witness of the Unite the Right car attack, likely bringing the case to a close.

Filed on behalf of area activist and former U.S. Foreign Service officer Brennan Gilmore, the Gilmore v. Jones lawsuit had been inching its way to trial for several years. However, in the wake of Alex Jones settling in March, the rest of the remaining defendants followed suit, with the last defendant settling Tuesday.

Gilmore sued a variety of high profile far right figures, including Jones, who is the main host and operator of Infowars, as well as Infowars and several others, in March 2018, claiming defamation.

After Gilmore witnessed and filmed the Aug. 12, 2017, rally car attack that killed counter-protester Heather Heyer, the defendants started spreading conspiracies about Gilmore, which led to death threats against him and his family, according to the suit.

In addition to Jones and Infowars, the complaint named as defendants Free Speech Systems LLC, Jim Hoft, Lee Stranahan, Lee Ann Fleisner, Scott Creighton, Derrick Wilburn, Michele Hickford, Words-N-Ideas and former U.S. Rep. Allen B. West, R-Fla.

West was dismissed from the case not long after it was filed in 2018, but one by one all the defendants have agreed to settlements in the intervening years, often agreeing to pay a lump sum to Gilmore or to the Legal Aid Justice Center, in the case of Hickford, Wilburn and Words-N-Ideas.

Jones, Infowars and Free Speech Systems LLC, admitted to defaming Gilmore in a March settlement. Per the order, the defendants had no “evidence that Gilmore was involved in a set up or in any other way with the August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville and the terrorist attack that killed Heather Heyer.”

The trio of defendants agreed to pay Gilmore $50,000 in damages and were dismissed from the lawsuit.

In late April, Hoft, founder of the far-right Gateway Pundit blog, also agreed to settle the lawsuit and pay Gilmore $50,000. Unlike Jones’ settlement, the court order stating the stipulations of Hoft’s settlement did not include any language indicating the defendant admitted to defaming Gilmore.

Also in April, Creighton and Fleisner agreed to settlements. In virtually identical but separate court documents, the two defendants agreed that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia will “retain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the parties’ settlement agreement and to enforce and resolve any disputes related thereto, if necessary.”

The settlement documents do not specify whether Creighton or Fleisner agreed to pay Gilmore but does clarify that they are dismissed from the lawsuit “with prejudice and without costs, disbursements, or attorneys’ fees to any party.”

Stranahan was the last defendant to settle and a stipulation and order was filed Tuesday detailing some of the details.

According to the court order, Stranahan admitted that he “had no evidence that Gilmore was involved in a set up or in any other way with the August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville and the terrorist attack that killed Heather Heyer.”

Additionally, per the order “Stranahan regrets the publication and its defamatory characterization of Gilmore” and agrees to pay damages to Gilmore totaling $4,000.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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