Rachel Ehrenfeld achieves a major legal victory in her libel battle with Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz.
New York, NY LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – June 18, 2007 — After seven long months, on June 8, 2007, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals breathed vitality into Rachel Ehrenfeld’s case against Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz — handing her extraordinary lawyer, Daniel Kornstein (and associates) an important victory — and establishing a legal precedent that henceforward affects every American writer and publisher.
In suing Mahfouz, Ehrenfeld asked the Federal Court to declare the default judgment against her obtained by bin Mahfouz in England’s High Court — concerning details of his alleged terror financing in her U.S.-published book, “Funding Evil” — as unenforceable in the U.S., and contrary to the free speech protections Americans enjoy.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals overruled the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in requesting that New York’s highest state court determine whether Mahfouz should personally be subject to New York jurisdiction.
The Second Circuit’s decision went further, ruling that Ehrenfeld’s claim is “ripe,” — and therefore can be brought before a U.S. court. Thus, every American writer and publisher, finding themselves in a similar situation, can now seek a U.S. court decision.
According to prominent civil rights attorney and 30 year American Civil Liberties Board member, Harvey Silverglate, this “case is one of the most important First Amendment cases of the past 25 years, at least.”
When and if the New York Court of Appeals decides that there is jurisdiction over Mahfouz, the case would proceed on the merits. This would allow Ehrenfeld to take pre-trial “discovery” of Mahfouz’s financial activities to further confirm the accuracy of her reporting on him in “Funding Evil.” — Stay tuned.
Rachel Ehrenfeld vs. Khalid bin Mahfouz United States Court of Appeals For The Second Circuit, Case #06-2228-cv: http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov:8080/isysnative/RDpcT3BpbnNcT1BOXDA2LTIyMjgtY3Zfb3BuLnBkZg==/06-2228-cv_opn.pdf
See also: New York Law Journal June 11: http://www.law.com/jsp/nylj/index.jsp
American Center for Democracy – www.acdemocracy.org