Report: ACLU to file brief in Redskins owner Daniel Snyder’s lawsuit against Washington City Paper

The American Civil Liberties Union is expected to file a brief today in the defamation lawsuit filed by Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder against Washington City Paper, arguing that Snyder must quickly prove that WCP knowingly published false and harmful information.

“The ACLU, which is not a party in the suit, asked and was granted permission to file an amicus curiae brief, and we'll be doing that today,” Arthur Spitzer, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation's Capital, told Neal Augenstein of WTOP.

Snyder originally filed suit in New York. In April, he moved the suit to D.C. and changed some of the parties, adding Dave McKenna, who wrote the article last November.

“The D.C. Council just last year passed a new law making it easier to have frivolous lawsuits dismissed,” Spitzer told WTOP, adding that it “provides an additional level of free speech about public affairs, including public figures.”

“Under the new anti-Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation law, if a public figure can show speech against him is false and the writer knew it was false, the suit can proceed,” Spitzer says. “If not, the case has to be dismissed.”

Mike Madden, WCP managing editor, declined to comment to WTOP. Snyder’s representatives were not available to the station.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.

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