Courtney Love has been cleared of the libel charges filed by her former lawyer. Reuters reports that a Los Angeles County Superior Court jury returned their verdict on Friday, bringing an end to the first-ever trial over libelous tweets.
Love's former attorney, Rhonda Holmes, brought the lawsuit against the Hole frontwoman in May 2011, claiming that Love had committed libel in a 2010 post on Twitter implying that Holmes had taken a bribe. Love alleged in the tweet that Holmes declined to represent the singer in litigation against the estate of her late husband, Kurt Cobain, because Holmes had been "bought off." During the trail, Love testified that she had intended that tweet as a private direct message in response to a question, and that when she realized she had accidentally tweeted the comment publicly, she immediately deleted it.
After four hours of deliberation on Friday, the 12-member jury unanimously found that Love had indeed published the tweet in question, and that it contained false information, which 11 of the jurors concluded would have been damaging to its target's reputation. However, they also ruled 9-3 that Holmes' lawyers had failed to prove that Love knew at the time that the statement was false, and so could not be held liable for defamation.
Although the jury declined to award Holmes the $8 million in damages she was seeking from Love, Holmes' attorney, Mitchell Langberg told Reuters that Holmes was pleased her reputation had been saved. "What she's really happy about is when the jury found that she didn't get bought off, that she didn't abandon her client for money," he said.
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