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Whereas in Italy Berlusconi has filed a libel suit against la Repubblica, as of now he has announced he will sue abroad. As in a previous comment this is a media tactic to induce sympathy in spectators. The spectator, either favourably disposed or mentally lazy, will see the news byte as reinforcing a cue that Berlusconi is a victim seeking redress. The mere fact that he is going to file a lawsuit implies that he is the wronged party.

I do not know if laws in Spain or France will allow him to file a complaint. In London he may have more luck as interpretation is quite broad there, plus, if I'm not wrong, the burden of proof lies with the accused, as a similar case shows (Perle vs. Hersh):

Put Up or Shut Up Richard Perle

I double-dare him to sue Seymour Hersh.

By Jack Shafer
Posted Thursday, March 13, 2003, at 6:38 PM ET

"I'm gonna punch you in the nose" is a serious threat. "I'm gonna punch you in the nose tomorrow ... or the day after" carries much less urgency. But the stipulative warning "I'm gonna punch you in the nose next week in England, where I'm looking to hire a professional nose-puncher to inflict the punishment" is the sort of statement only a grandstanding pantywaist would make.

A grandstanding pantywaist like Richard N. Perle.

[...]

While we're on the subject of serious, it bears examining why Perle would take his libel lawsuit to England. Is it because Perle is English? No. Because Hersh is? No. Because The New Yorker is published there? No. He's venue-shopping in England because it's easier to win a libel case there than it is here, which he explains in the Sun. As a public figure and government official, Perle would be laughed out of court in the United States. If he got a settlement in the U.K., he could raid the substantial British assets of the The New Yorker's parent company, Condé Nast.

British libel law, of course, is completely un-American! "While both American and British law preclude liability if the statement is true, American law places the burden of proof on the plaintiff to show the statement is false," write media lawyers Laura R. Handman and Robert D. Balin of Davis Wright Tremaine. "By contrast, British law imposes the burden on defendant to prove truth or 'justification' and permits aggravated damages if defendant tries but fails." Maybe Hersh should be grateful Perle isn't filing where Sharia is observed.

Will Perle file against Hersh, or is he just shooting his mouth off? Handman and Balin write that British courts have begun "turning back" blatant cases of venue-shopping by litigants who think the British courts are a soft touch. The two judges who preside over libel cases in London recently rejected a pair of libel suits against Forbes because no discussion of the litigants' English interests could be found in the articles. File your case in the United States, the judges essentially said. They have a wonderful legal system.

The judge will probably tell Perle the same thing. So, go ahead and sue, Mr. Perle, and make sure an expensive barrister handles your case. The New Yorker has money to burn, and I'd love to see you lose yours.

The conclusion is that- as far as the States are concerned- Berlusconi wouldn't have a chance in hell.

I do hope he gets to take his case to court in England, Spain and France because when he loses his cases- and he will, just as he has always lost in Italy- the local press will frontpage the news. In Italy it will never be mentioned in the press he controls.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 05:18:44 PM EST
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