14 February 2011

Shirley Sharrod Finally Sues Andrew Breitbart

About damn time:
Former USDA official Shirley Sherrod has filed a lawsuit against conservative firebrand and web entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart. The suit stems from the notorious video Breitbart posted online last year, showing an out-of-context excerpt from a speech Sherrod gave to the NAACP Freedom Fund in March 2010. The clip suggested she had used her position at the Department of Agriculture to discriminate against white farmers. The media devoured the Breitbart's version of story so voraciously that the NAACP denounced Sherrod and the Obama administration fired her. The charge was, in fact, entirely untrue.

Sherrod argues in the lawsuit that the clip "damaged her reputation and prevented her from continuing her work." Breitbart, meanwhile, denounced the suit, saying he "categorically rejects the transparent effort to chill his constitutionally protected free speech."
Let's be clear, as a public official at the time, Shirley Sharrod has a very high burden of proof, so I do not know her chances of prevailing, but even if she wins, it is highly unlikely that she will get anything unless she takes action in advance to ensure that the real assets of his operations are secure.

His real assets would walk out of his office tommorow, on a memory stick, we are talking about things like his subscriber database, so if I were her lawyer, I would suggest that she move to have the court appoint a special master to oversee this data, to ensure that it doesn't walk out the door.

Then again, I'm an engineer, not a lawyer, Dammit.*

*I LOVE IT when I get to go all Doctor McCoy!!!


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