Principal attorneys for Rachel Maddow and co-defendants were (from left) Ted Boutrous Jr., Nathaniel Bach, Scott Edelman, and Marissa Moshell.
One America News Network marked a minor financial victory on Friday when a federal judge in San Diego cut how much he had to pay Rachel Maddow’s attorneys.
In May last year, San Diego-based OAN lost a $ 10 million defamation lawsuit against the MSNBC host and its employers, and the law allows Maddow to collect defense fees in the anti-SLAPP case.
Instead of the $ 347,000 sought by NBCUniversal’s senior attorney Ted Boutrous Jr., Judge Allison H. Goddard granted the defense team $ 247,000 (plus a cost of approximately $ 10,000).
Charles Herring, president of OAN parent company Herring Networks, told Law and Crime: “We’re delighted that the court has cut fees by almost a third.”
Judge Goddard awarding attorney fees to Rachel Maddow’s defense team. (PDF)
Herring noted, however, that the case is being appealed. “We are very confident that we will receive a favorable and fair decision in the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.”
In mid-December, Boutrous filed a 65-page brief arguing that the 9th Circle should confirm Judge Cynthia Bashant’s dismissal of the defamation case. OAN sued Maddow for saying on the air that the pro-Trump network “literally pays for Russian propaganda.”
“This court should uphold the district court’s judgment dismissing this case with prejudice,” wrote Boutrous. “This is exactly the kind of unfounded legal defamation process aimed at delivering a truthful speech about a ‘public problem’ that California’s anti-SLAPP Act, California Defamation Act and First Amendment prohibit.”
He added, “This lawsuit, arguing itself with a couple of out-of-context words, is intended to cool down truthful reporting and commentary on important matters of public concern.”
OAN has February 16 to respond to Boutrous’ arguments – and to seek a reversal of the Bashant ruling.
Judge Goddard stated in her defense cost ruling that “reasonable rates for comparable work in San Diego are not as high as the defendants claim, but not as low as the plaintiff suggests.”
She said reasonable hourly San Diego hourly rates for lawyers with comparable skills, experience, and reputation were $ 1,150 for Boutrous, $ 1,050 for Scott Edelman, $ 720 for Nathaniel Bach, $ 470 for Marissa Moshell, and $ 470 for Daniel Rubin. (Boutrous had charged an hourly rate of $ 1,525.)
In June of last year, Herring told The Times of San Diego, “Nobody wants to spend that much money, but it’s only part of the business.”
He did not respond to questions regarding the prospect of a lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems that this week requested Facebook and other social media platforms post and data from OAN and others over media allegations that Dominion rigged the 2020 presidential election , store.
Dominion’s parent company attorneys sent letters to Facebook, YouTube, Parler, and Twitter stating that the posts and data from Fox, Newsmax, OAN, former President Trump, and others are relevant to Dominion’s pending and upcoming claims .
Dominion previously warned the networks and others that defamation battles against them were “imminent”.