Nancy Grace is making some news of her own inside the courtroom.
A federal judge ruled that Michael C. Skakel’s libel claim could proceed against the HLN Anchor and her associates over comments made on her show that falsely suggested DNA evidence tied him to Martha Moxley’s 1975 murder.
Judge Vanessa L. Bryant of United States District Court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss, clearing the way for Skakel’s civil complaint to move forward. The request to dismiss had been brought by Grace; Beth Karas, a legal commentator; and the program’s producers at Time Warner and Turner Broadcasting System.
The statements Skakel found objectionable were “not just a minor inaccuracy,” according to the judge, but rather ones involving some “stark” distinctions.
Skakel, who has always maintained his innocence in Moxley’s death, was convicted by a jury in June 2002 of murdering her when they were both teenagers living in Greenwich, Conn. Tried as an adult, he was sent to prison for 20 years to life. His conviction was set aside last year by a state judge, Thomas Bishop, who ruled that Skakel had been deprived of effective counsel. Since November, Skakel, 53, has been free on bail pending an appeal by prosecutors of Judge Bishop’s ruling.
The current libel action arose because of remarks made on Grace’s show, which is broadcast by HLN, in January 2012, when Skakel was an inmate hoping for parole. Karas, a guest on the show, asserted that Mr. Skakel’s “DNA was found” in a tree near the crime scene. In fact, there was no DNA evidence linking Skakel to the crime.
But, when would Nancy Grace ever let the facts get in the way of a good story?
Unfortunately, the judge obviously did not see it that way.
H/T NY Times