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Federal judge deals blow to Rep Lauren Boebert in defamation lawsuit, calls threats to donors ‘unprotected’

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A federal magistrate judge has recommended that a defamation lawsuit against Congresswoman Lauren Boebert proceed, dealing a significant setback to the controversial MAGA lawmaker. The lawsuit, filed by political activist David Wheeler of North Carolina and the PAC American Muckrakers, alleges that Boebert made maliciously false statements about them during her 2022 reelection campaign.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathryn A. Starnella dismissed Boebert’s attempt to have the lawsuit dismissed as “meritless.” The judge highlighted that Boebert could potentially be held liable for threatening to sue American Muckrakers’ donors, despite never following through on those threats. The lawsuit claims that Boebert’s false statements led to a drastic 92% drop in donations to the PAC, as supporters withdrew out of fear of Boebert’s allegations.

“Defendant’s threats to sue Plaintiffs’ sponsors and donors are unprotected because they were neither made in good faith nor in serious contemplation of litigation,” Judge Starnella wrote in her recommendation. “While Defendant has an interest in protecting her reputation, Plaintiffs’ donors and sponsors have a weightier interest in exercising their First Amendment right to engage in political speech without fear of retaliation.”

The judge further emphasized, “The Court finds no social value in allowing elected officials to silence speech they dislike by threatening gadfly journalists’ donors, who have not themselves engaged in any unlawful or tortious activity.”

Boebert’s legal troubles come amid a backdrop of previous controversies, including her involvement in what critics called the “Beetlejuice sexual misconduct catastrophe.” The lawsuit marks another potential political scandal for the Congresswoman, who has drawn comparisons to her idol, former President Donald Trump, known for his own legal battles and defamation cases.

As the legal proceedings continue, Boebert faces the prospect of significant defamation damages and a continued public spotlight on her actions both on and off Capitol Hill. The recommendation from Judge Starnella sets the stage for a potentially precedent-setting case involving the limits of political speech and the consequences for elected officials who seek to silence their critics.

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