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Coal tycoon's defamation lawsuit against John Oliver dismissed by judge

Author: Maya Oppenheim, The Independent (UK), Published on: 24 February 2018

A judge has dismissed a coal mogul’s defamation lawsuit against comedian John Oliver and American TV network HBO.  Jeffrey Cramer, a West Virginia Judge, conceded to HBO’s argument that Bob Murray ceased to demonstrate the late night talk show host legally defamed him.  Bob Murray, a coal tycoon who is the CEO of coal mining giant Murray Energy Corp, asserted that Oliver portrayed his companies unfairly in a commentary about Donald Trump’s treatment of the coal industry.  Murray Energy Corp told The Independent the company would be appealing the judge's decision...In a statement, a representative for Murray Energy Corp said the decision "contains absolutely no legal reasoning, whatsoever, and instead blindly adopts the defendants deeply flawed arguments"... HBO...vigorously fought the claims.  Asking the West Virginia judge to dismiss the case, the company said: “The fact that Murray found this speech embarrassing or disagreeable does not remove it from the broad protection of the First Amendment.  The Supreme Court has stated time and again that the type of speech at issue here - news and commentary about public figures and issues of public importance - ‘occupies the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values, and is entitled to special protection'."

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