December 6, 2011

Media Trackers: "Our attorneys stand prepared."

Where were they before Mr. Sikma started publishing malicious lies?

Less than prepared, evidently.

Here's what Marquette professor of law Rick Esenberg had to say:
Any suggestion that there is either an action for defamation against either [Media Trackers' Brian Sikma or 620 AM WTMJ's Charlie Sykes] or the basis for a criminal charge is wildly off base given the nature of their remarks and applicable law.
Which was in response [sic] to this:
You said: It was not wrong for Media Trackers to raise the issue.

This outfit did much more than simply raise the issue. Media Trackers' "conservative media analyst" — that's the undeservedly hifalutin title conferred by Wisconsin Public Radio, which devoted an utterly pointless half an hour to him the other day — Brian Sikma reportedly told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "[Lena Taylor] was, in fact, an accessory to one felon voting on April 5."

And your good pal Charlie Sykes wrote: "Are [Democrats] all fine with Lena Taylor, a respected member of their party in the legislature, being an accessory to voter fraud?"

According to Freer v. Marshall & Ilsley Corp., 2004 WI App 201, "'imputation of certain crimes' to the plaintiff" raises a cause of action for defamation in Wisconsin. And there is a certain crime in Wisconsin that would fit Sikma's and Sykes's accusation of "accessory to voter fraud," described in Wis. Stat. § 12.13(1)(h).
Prof. Esenberg offered zero support for his dismissive handwaving.

But who knows, maybe he will be one of Brian Sikma's attorneys.*

In the meantime Mr. Sikma appears intent on measuring the homeless shelter's clothesline, to ensure it's up to municipal building code snuff.

I mean, those homeless people must be guilty of something, right?

* And if so, courtesy the Bradley Foundation, completing the circle.


Graeme said...

Ben Merens gave the goatchild a full hour.

Johm said...

Lena Taylor is a public figure so the her ability to go after Skima is pretty limited.

illusory tenant said...

She may have a higher burden but that doesn't preclude her from seeking damages.

Mike said...

Would it be a better case if the person accused of voting illegally went after them?

illusory tenant said...

More the merrier.

Anonymous said...

WPR must be feeling the heat from Walker enforcers in State government. Recently they have on several occasions felt it necessary, in the interests of journalistic balance, to counter the truth with an outright Conservative think-tank lie. Do they not have the funds to employ a fact checker? Are there no objective facts or actions, just varying opinions, each of which must be reported as though it might be the truth? What a sad state American journalism is in.

I now listen to WPR even less than I did before, which was hardly ever.

John said...

Mike- they have a lower burden and that would be interesting.

Brew city brawler said...

Per iT, Lena may have a higher burden but she's not libel-proof. Her mom's not a public figure, either.

legaleagle said...

I'd agree with illusory tenant here - although Lena Taylor would definitely have a higher burden, that doesn't mean that "news" sources are able to just publish information without properly checking their facts. Checking whether or not someone is in fact prevented from voting before you claim that they are prevented from voting seems like pretty basic fact-checking to me.

But then, I think voting is a basic right while those on the right seem to think it is an act we should make as difficult as possible to accomplish.

Speaking of - now that you have to have an ID to vote, even more homeless individuals will potentially need to use the address of homeless shelters in order to obtain a voter ID. So should we anticipate more of these allegations as so-called Voter ID goes into effect?

illusory tenant said...

"[T]hose on the right seem to think it is an act we should make as difficult as possible to accomplish."