"Round 1 goes to the LA Times," cartoonist Ted Rall posted this week.
Rall is suing the newspaper for wrongful termination and defamation after being dropped by the Times in 2015. Rall has since been hit with an anti-SLAPP countersuit by the paper.
"LA Times attorney Kelli Sager split the defendants’ anti-SLAPP motions against me into three tranches of defendants, each with its own set of documents and hearing dates," wrote Rall to supporters on his legal Go-Fund-Me site. "Yesterday [Wednesday, June 21] LA Superior Court ruled in favor of the Times’ anti-SLAPP motion," regarding the first of three groups of defendants, former Times publisher Austin Beutner, editorial page editor Nick Goldberg, readers’ representative ombudsman Deirdre Edgar, and reporter Paul Pringle.
Rall said he remains uncowed. “I am suing the LA Times to set the record straight: I told the truth in that blog piece,” he said in an email to Newsweek. He added that Wednesday’s ruling was “disappointing, but I plan to continue my fight to clear my name and hold the Times accountable for its corrupt relationship with the Los Angeles Police Department.”
"This decision can be appealed to the Court of Appeals," added Rall. "Anti-SLAPP was designed by the California state legislature to protect individuals expressing their free speech rights from being silenced by deep-pocketed corporations using frivolous lawsuits to intimidate them and others. Ironically, the Times — owned by Tronc, a $420 million corporation — is abusing the statute to try to destroy me, their former cartoonist."