In case you missed it, we were sued by Sahara casino for a rumor we shared about the possible closure of the Las Vegas resort.
After our story went live, Sahara reached out to express concerns, and as a courtesy, we did a retraction. Apparently, that didn’t satisfy Sahara.
Sahara sued for “defamation.” Here’s the lawsuit (.pdf format).
While we bent over backwards to work with Sahara, we weren’t willing to just bend over.
We sought out representation, and hired the attorney who helped draft Nevada’s anti-SLAPP statute, Marc Randazza. Randazza is one of the foremost First Amendment lawyers in the country.
Put simply, Nevada’s anti-SLAPP law protects free speech.
SLAPP stands for “strategic lawsuits against public participation,” and SLAPP suits are often used to intimidate and silence critics through expensive legal proceedings.
Wikipedia says, “The plaintiff’s goals are accomplished if the defendant succumbs to fear, intimidation, mounting legal costs or simple exhaustion and abandons the criticism.”
Anti-SLAPP laws are intended to prevent people or companies from threats of groundless defamation cases.
So, on Sep. 18, 2020, we filed an anti-SLAPP motion (.pdf format).
We think the anti-SLAPP motion is a masterpiece, although it’s possible we’re biased.
We think this motion speaks for itself.
A key component of the motion is something called “actual malice.”
Defamation has to meet certain criteria: Our story would have had to be published with: 1) knowledge it was false or, 2) reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.
Neither of those things is even remotely true.
It’s unfortunate Sahara felt it was necessary to go this route. We’ve always been a fan of the place and have rooted for it to succeed. We certainly have never rooted for it to close.
At this point, it’s not really about whether Sahara might close or not. It’s about free speech.
We hold the First Amendment in extraordinarily high regard, and we think it’s worth fighting for.
Stay tuned, and thanks for all the kind words of support during this surreal saga.
Update (10/20/20): A judge granted our anti-SLAPP motion and the case has been dismissed. Turns out, free speech is worth fighting for.