Some readers may recall the case of Brett Kimberlin in the US. Kimberlin is a convicted bomber, perjurer, drug runner and has various other crimes to his name.
Since his release from prison, he’s made a habit of attacking those who call him what he clearly is.
One of his lawsuits is against various conservative bloggers, filed in the state of Maryland. (There’s also a federal case). That case came to trial this week.
Obliviously, with his convictions, the idea that calling him a terrorist is not deformation. So the case ended up focusing on the allegations of paedophilia, a crime which he appears to have committed but not been convicted of.
Here’s one version of what happened:
In order to prove a defamation case in Maryland, the plaintiff must prove that what the defendant said or wrote was false. Brett Kimberlin could not do that. After putting his older daughter, Aaron, Ali, Stacy, and me on the stand, he had produced no evidence of falsity. He had no case. With the jury sent out of the courtroom, Judge Johnson incredulously asked him, “Is it your theory that you can come into court and say, “I was defamed,” and rest your case?” Because TDPK had offered no evidence for the jury to consider in its deliberation, the judge ruled that there was no case, and gave a verdict in favor of the Aaron, Stacy, Ali, and me as a matter of law.
Clearly, his first step would be to show that he was not a paedophile. But outside of calling his own daughter as a witness (which proves pretty much nothing), he called the people he himself was suing. That didn’t go so well.
But I knew things were going to go very bad for Brett when he asked me the question “why do you believe I am a pedophile?” You do notask a guy with a semi-photographic memory a question like that. So I went over Jessica/Debbie Barton, another fifteen year old girl he told singer he had been “romancing,” his teen dream, and then as I was getting to his wife, I got interrupted, but I got to that story a few minutes later. He did not enjoy, for instance, hearing me recite the story his wife told me about her walking in on him kissing her twelve year old cousin. In short I was able to recite most of the facts laid out inthis post (which this title is riffing off of) and he clearly regretted it.
One thing that kept occurring, also, is Brett kept expecting me to spontaneously blurt out his narrative, rather than, you know, reality. So he asked me if I said that we should destroy his daughter’s life “because of the corruption of the blood?” All of this comes from having written this post which, as you might notice, does not say that at all. So I remember specifically answering “no, I have literally said the opposite. I have said that we should as much as practicable shield your daughter from the effects of your misconduct.”
Here’s the thing: if someone acuses you of a crime, and you sue them for deformation, your first job is to show that they are wrong. Really wrong. Reading these accounts of the trial, Kimberlin really didn’t bother to do that. He didn’t even come close to trying.
So, the court had no choice to (effectively) declare that “Brett Kimberlin is a paedophile” is a true statement. I mean, he didn’t bother to refute it, did he? And it wasn’t like he had spent months of effort filing a case in order to “clear his name”. If he had the proof, that was the time to present it. If he didn’t have it, he should have withdrawn the case.
Biggest legal backfire in history? Quite possibly.