WASHINGTON (JTA) – Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson’s bid to reinstate a defamation lawsuit against the National Jewish Democratic Council and two of its formal principals had a hearing in Nevada Supreme Court.
The hearing Monday was the third legal venue for the case since Adelson first sued the NJDC in 2012. A federal appeals court directed the Nevada Supreme Court to consider whether Adelson may continue with his case under state law. Adelson appealed after a federal judge dismissed the suit in 2013.
According to reports in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which is owned by Adelson’s family, and The Associated Press, the hearing Monday focused on whether a hyperlink in an online NJDC news release constituted adequate attribution to a source, which would protect the NJDC and its former chairman, Marc Stanley, and president, David Harris, from charges they were peddling allegedly defamatory claims.
The hearing also addressed defense claims that the suit did not comply with Nevada’s laws against “strategic lawsuits against public participation” — those aimed at silencing critics as opposed to obtaining redress.
The federal judge who dismissed the case likened the link — it was in a 2012 petition by the NJDC calling on then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to refuse funding from Adelson — to a footnote, saying it constituted a “fair report.”
The link in the petition was to an AP account of a wrongful termination lawsuit brought by a fired casino employee against Adelson, a major funder of Republican candidates. The ex-employee alleged that Adelson allowed prostitutes to ply their trade in his casinos in Macau, China. Adelson has adamantly denied the claim.