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Federal Judge Dismisses Alec Baldwin Defamation Lawsuit

— May 5, 2022

Baldwin donated $5,000 to fund a Marine’s funeral–and then publicly criticized his sister after she posted pictures from the January 6th riots outside the U.S. Capitol.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against actor Alec Baldwin by the surviving family of a Marine killed in Afghanistan.

According to CNN, the lawsuit was brought by the widow and sisters of Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum.

The family sued Baldwin for defamation and negligence after the actor made derogatory remarks about a McCollum family member’s presence outside the United States Capitol during the January 6th riots.

The family filed their lawsuit in a Wyoming-based federal court.

“Venue is proper in the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming […] because a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to these claims occurred in Jackson, Teton County, Wyoming,” the lawsuit said.

However, a federal judge found that the McCollum family failed to prove that the court has or should have jurisdiction over Baldwin’s actions.

People milling around in front of the Capitol building, some carrying signs.
January 6, 2021 storming of the United States Capitol. Photo by Tyler Merbler, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. CC BY 2.0

In her ruling, Judge Nancy D. Freudenthal found that Baldwin, a New York resident, never lived or did business in Wyoming.

“The allegedly tortious conduct by Mr. Baldwin in New York, by way of posting a photo and content on his own Instagram feed, was not deliberately directed at an audience in Wyoming, thus any allegation that it was intended to harm plaintiffs primarily or particularly in Wyoming is insufficient for personal jurisdiction,” Freudenthal wrote.

Luke Nikas, an attorney for Baldwin, said the actor welcomed the decision.

“This is a significant step toward the complete dismissal of the lawsuit, which seeks to punish Mr. Baldwin for expressing his political opinion,” Nikas said.

Rylee McCollum, notes CNN, was one of 13 U.S. servicepeople killed during an August 26, 2021, suicide attack outside of Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan.

After McCollum’s death, McCollum’s sister, Roice McCollum, started a GoFundMe account for McCollum’s widow and “soon-to-be-born baby daughter.”

Baldwin heard about the fundraiser and donated about $5,000.

However, Baldwin took offense when he later saw Roce McCollum’s pictures outside the U.S. Capital on January 6th.

“When I sent the $ for your late brother, out of real respect for his service to this country, I didn’t know you were a January 6th rioter,” Baldwin wrote in a private Instagram message.

Roice McCollum responded, saying, “Protesting is perfectly legal in the country and I’ve already had my sit down with the FBI. Thanks, have a nice day!”

“I don’t think so,” Baldwin replied. “Your activities resulted in the unlawful destruction of government property, the death of a law enforcement officer, an assault on the certification of the presidential election. I reposted your photo. Good luck.”

Shortly after Baldwin re-posted McCollum’s picture outside the U.S. Capitol, Roice McCollum allegedly began to receive “hostile, aggressive, hateful messages from Baldwin’s followers.”

The lawsuit alleges that Baldwin “unequivocally understood that by forwarding Roice’s Instagram feed to 2.4 million like-minded followers and posting his commentary would result in the onslaught of threats and hatred that it did [sic].”

Despite the dismissal, McCollum family attorney Dennis Postiglione said that the family will refile the lawsuit “in a jurisdiction where Baldwin can be held accountable for his horrible conduct.”


Judge dismisses defamation lawsuit brought by family of fallen Marine against Alec Baldwin

Wyoming defamation lawsuit against Alec Baldwin is dismissed

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