A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge tossed a defamation lawsuit against Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
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In a complaint filed in January 2020, Michael Sanchez, the brother of Bezos’ girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, claimed that Bezos falsely told journalists that Sanchez had broken into his phone to access nude photos of the couple. Sanchez also claimed that Bezos had spread a false rumor that Sanchez was working with high-profile right-wing figures like Carter Page, Roger Stone, and the Saudi Arabian government as part of a larger conspiracy to take Bezos down.
On February 3rd, Bezos filed an anti-SLAPP motion, accusing Sanchez of using libel law to silence speech protected under the First Amendment.
On November 5th, the LA court granted Bezos motion in a tentative ruling on the basis that Sanchez’s claims relied on hearsay and not on published statements.
“Indeed, ‘[e]vidence must be presented that the defendant or anyone associated with the defendant made or authorized the publication. Evidence that others told the plaintiff that they heard the defamatory statement is insufficient, absent evidence as to how or from whom they heard it,’ Superior Court Judge John P. Doyle wrote.
Doyle later added that even if Sanchez had evidence Bezos had made the statements, they related to an “issue of public interest” and were likely protected speech.