In a case that could have wide-ranging implications for those trying to hide behind anonymity to smear others via social media, actor James Woods has moved a step closer to a resolution in his $10M defamation suit against a “John Doe” who tweeted out that the false statement that actor was addicted to cocaine. The John Doe has since died and the attorney for the deceased client was ordered by a Superior Court Judge that he must now reveal the name of the individual. Going by the handle ‘Abe List,’ the individual tweeted the comment out last July.
The order follows a ruling last year by the Court denying the anonymous Tweeter’s anti-SLAPP motion that stated the tweet was just hyperbole and because of that could not be deemed “defamatory.” They also said that the Tweeter had died and now Woods was harrassing the family.
Woods’ attorney, Michael Weinsten of Lavely & Singer stated today: “This is a significant step forward in our ability to recover the millions in damages caused by John Doe’s cowardly Tweet. It also sends a message to others who believe they can hide behind the anonymity of online social media to falsely accuse public figures of heinous behavior without recourse to themselves.”
Today’s order requires that defendant’s counsel Kenneth White must disclose his client’s name, and other identifying information, by sworn declaration within the next ten days.