| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO Swiss bank Julius Baer Holding AG
BAER.VX on Wednesday dropped its lawsuit against a
whistle-blower Web site after losing a battle to keep the site
from posting private account-holder information.
The bank dismissed the lawsuit against the Web site,
Wikileaks.org, and Dynadot LLC, the site's registrar, without
explanation in a filing in U.S. district court in San
Francisco. It left open the possibility of filing another
lawsuit in the same or in a different court.
A Baer spokeswoman said the company had nothing to say
beyond the court filing dismissing the case.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White last week reversed his
earlier order shutting down Wikileaks.org after Baer and
Dynadot entered a settlement agreeing to take it down. White
and Baer drew international criticism from free-speech
advocates who said the order was an unconstitutional prior
restraint on speech.
"A prior restraint should not issue against free speech no
matter how serious the plaintiff's claim of wrongdoing may
sound," Paul Alan Levy, attorney for Public Citizen Litigation
Group, said in a statement after Wednesday's dismissal.
Baer, based in Zurich, had said the documents posted on
Wikileaks.org invaded the privacy of account holders and others
and made unfounded allegations of wrongdoing against the bank.
Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and other
civil-rights groups argued that Baer should seek other
remedies, such as monetary damages after publication of the
documents, rather than ban the Web site. The judge agreed.
White last week said from the bench that his earlier order
raised "serious questions of prior restraint and possible
violations of the First Amendment."
He also questioned whether the order was enforceable as
several so-called mirror sites offering a back door to
Wikileaks.org went up in the wake of his earlier ruling.
(Editing by Braden Reddall)