OAN loses defamation appeal against MSNBC and Maddow, to pay at least $250,000 legal fees

On Tuesday, right-wing network One America News (OAN) lost an appeal of the defamation suit it had filed against MSNBC and host Rachel Maddow. A panel upheld a previous ruling by a federal court. The court had not only ruled against the fringe network but had also told the plaintiffs to pay $250,000 as the legal fees of the defendants.


In July 2019, OAN sued Maddow for $10 million claiming that her remarks on her show were “malicious and false.” She had called the Trump boosting network “paid Russian propaganda.”


Maddow had based her comments on a Daily Beast story which had detailed the way OAN had employed Kristian Rouz, who worked with Sputnik, a news outlet owned by Kremlin, at the same time. Sputnik News is known for its Russian-backed propaganda.


MSNBC’s lawyers noted that their host’s remarks should be classified as “protected opinion based on disclosed facts.” They added that her commentary had made a specific mention that the OAN reporter was paid by Sputnik.


In May 2020, U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant said that there weren’t any facts from OAN that could support a defamation claim based on Maddow’s statement. The judge also noted that OAN never alleged that the facts that were presented in the report by the Daily Beast were defamatory, nor did they dispute any underlying facts that were presented in the program by Maddow.


In February, the court permanently dismissed the case and gave MSNBC a total of $247,667.50 as legal fees. The network had asked the court for $350,000 in legal fees.


In February, OAN president Charles Herring had said that he was confident that the network would win its appeal. He also said that he was happy that the legal fees had been reduced by the court. However, after Tuesday’s loss, the right-wing network might pay a larger amount in legal fees for lengthening the process in court.


The Daily Beast contacted OAN after they lost the appeal but have not as yet received a response while MSNBC declined to comment.


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