| WASHINGTON, June 4
WASHINGTON, June 4 A U.S. District Court
dismissed a lawsuit on Monday against Esquire Magazine over a
satirical blog post that said Joseph Farah, a prominent
proponent of the "birther" movement, had denounced a book
alleging that President Barack Obama was not born in the United
Farah, CEO and editor-in-chief of the conservative-leaning
website WorldNetDaily.com, had sued Esquire Magazine, its parent
company Hearst Communications Inc., and writer Mark Warren for
defamation, invasion of privacy, interference with business
relations and violations under a federal trademark law.
In dismissing the suit in Washington, Judge Rosemary Collyer
ruled that the post was satire related to a matter of public
interest and should be protected under the First Amendment to
the U.S. Constitution, which deals with freedom of expression.
Collyer also concluded that the trademark law cited by Farah
applied only to commercial speech, not to satirical
Warren published a blog post in May 2011 on esquire.com that
said Farah had announced plans to recall and pulp all copies of
a book he had published questioning Obama's eligibility to be
The post came after Obama had released the copy of his birth
certificate at the end of April.
Most Republican critics of Obama have given up pushing
long-running allegations that he was not born in the United
States, where the president is required to be a "natural-born
citizen," but Farah remains a proponent of this "birther"
Obama - whose father was from Kenya and mother was from
Kansas - released a long-form copy of his birth certificate last
year as proof he was born in Hawaii to try to put to rest
speculation that he was not born in the country.
According to the court ruling, Warren's post was published
on an opinion page under the website's "The Politics Blog" and
was tagged as humor.
The post described fictional interviews with Farah and
sources from World Net Daily in which Farah was described as
having said, "We'll do anything to hurt Obama, and erase his
memory, but we don't want to look like .... idiots, you know?"
Farah had sought over $100 million in actual and
compensatory damages and more than $20 million in punitive
damages. Esquire magazine officials could not immediately be
reached for comment.
Farah's attorney Larry Klayman said his client planned to
"The court's decision was negligent and fatally flawed," he
said. "The Washington establishment...has always been afraid of
the eligibility issue. This may help explain why the judge
dropped the case," Klayman said.
(Reporting By Lily Kuo; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and David