Defamation Case Study: Kennedy Relative v. Nancy Grace
On Halloween night 1975, an attacker murdered Martha Moxley, a Connecticut teenager who lived next door to Kennedy relatives, the Skakels. In 2002, a jury convicted Michael Skakel of the crime.
Last week, Skakel asked a parole board for early release. His attorney also took the opportunity to file a slander lawsuit against litigator-turned-TV-criminal-pundit Nancy Grace.
Why Is Michael Skakel Suing Nancy Grace For Slander?
According to Greenwich Patch, when discussing the case on the show, Grace and correspondent Beth Karas said DNA evidence, found at the crime scene, linked Skakel to the murder. The issue? Skakel allegedly has evidence that the DNA of which they referred couldn’t have been his.
Can Prisoners File Slander Lawsuits?
The parole board denied Skakel’s leave request. Which raises the question: Can he still pursue this slander lawsuit? Yes.
Prisoner lawsuit restrictions exist, but none of them will prevent Skakel from moving forward with this, particular, slander lawsuit.
Noteworthy is that he’s only asking for a couple of thousand dollars in damages — probably because of a 1996 law limiting attorneys fees for convicted criminals.
Can Skakel Win His Slander Lawsuit Against Nancy Grace?
To win this slander lawsuit, Skakel must prove that Grace and co. knowingly broadcast false statement of fact. How will Grace and Karas likely defend themselves?
- Fair reporting; or
- Lack of intent. In the U.S., sometimes, even if a statement is false, defendants may not be found responsible if they can prove they had every reason to believe in its accuracy. The standard protects journalists against bad sources.
There’s also the ever-present possibility that Grace, Karas, and Turner Broadcasting will settle. And since Skakel isn’t asking for much, we probably won’t hear much more about this slander lawsuit.
Have you been defamed? Are adversaries or competitors smearing your good name? If you’re looking for an experienced slander attorney to fight on your behald, we’re the perfect legal team to help. Get in touch today to learn about our slander litigation services.