Clearing Up the Defamation Rumors
There has been a lot of false information being disseminated regarding the dismissal of the defamation suit filed against myself and 25 unnamed John Doe Defendants and I wanted to take a moment to clear up some of those rumors. First and foremost, there was no settlement in terms of agreements not to discuss the case or even stop talking about Cody Saltsman. On or about December 20, the Plaintiffs approached us wishing to dismiss the defamation claim WITH PREJUDICE. They asked if Cody could post a statement on my blog, and I was glad to allow him to do so. I did not HAVE to do anything, nor was I forced to post anything about the case in return for a dismissal. I chose to provide a statement because many people were following the case and wanted to know what was going on.
I was not forced to stop talking about Cody or the case. If I wanted to call him a little booger eater…I could, but I won’t. What he did was really crappy and there is no excuse for it, but at least he made the attempt to right his wrongs. As part of the settlement we did not pay any money; we did not agree to retract any statements, nor did we agree to stop covering the case or discussing it. I was glad that Cody wanted to make a statement. In all honesty, whether people choose to believe him or not — he is the ONLY person thus far to have the testicular fortitude to stand before the public’s judging eyes and try to explain his actions or inaction that night. For that, I do give the kid MUCH credit. He has done more in that respect than any adults who have been implicated in this nightmare of a case. There were never any threats made to him or others on this site. People discussed this case much like you and someone who might be sharing a cup of coffee and discussing a hot news item. This blog afforded locals a place to talk about the case, and individuals theorized and discussed rumors that they heard. I had many inside sources from various agencies in Steubenville and if something was a rumor and I could confirm that it was so — I posted that info to try to clear up any misinformation. I do not post anything that I can’t vet. Why didn’t I talk to the New York Times? I was being SUED and my attorneys made a statement for me.
I have never accused law enforcement of not doing their jobs. I know many of the policemen who wear the uniform of Steubenville Police Department and have known the chief for many years. I would never say anything to demean or malign them. I have maintained all along that I am not law enforcement and I have no knowledge of the way they investigated this case other than what has been released via the media or through court transcripts. Perhaps the department was overwhelmed and understaffed to handle an investigation with a cyber component as they referred the hacking of rollredroll to the federal authorities. I have, however, encouraged people who do have questions or concerns to speak out. I believe in the right to maintain an opinion and to uphold the First Amendment – as proven by my refusal to not request dismissal based on jurisdiction and a Section 230 defense. I could have easily walked away from this case early on and left my commenters hanging, but instead of running away - I chose to stay and fight for what I believed in. Opinions are not always nice, but that is the type of speech that needs to be protected the most.
This case is very important on many different levels: both legally and socially. I leave you with a copy of the settlement and release so that you can view it and make your own informed decision.