VAN NUYS (CNS) - Former "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" cast member Diana Jenkins lost a round in court today when a judge denied her attorneys information they hoped would help them avoid dismissal of her defamation suit against the operator of the "Crazy Days and Nights" gossip blog.
"Plaintiff must provide additional justification in light of the protection afforded to journalists and their sources, even if they are bloggers...," Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Shirley K. Watkins wrote. "She has not described how this information will meet the statutory goals of discovery pending an anti-SLAPP motion."
Anti-SLAPP laws provide defendants a way to quickly dismiss meritless lawsuits known as SLAPPs or Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.
Jenkins alleges in her suit filed Nov. 2 that the blogger, Enty Lawyer, has repeatedly defamed her with false allegations, including that she has engaged in sex trafficking of children, coerced vulnerable celebrities into prostitution, was associated with the late Jeffrey Epstein and that she committed money laundering and statutory rape.
On Jan. 5, Enty Lawyer's attorney, Kenneth P. White, filed court papers seeking dismissal of Jenkins' lawsuit with an anti-SLAPP motion, maintaining that the complaint infringes on his client's First Amendment rights.
Jenkins' lawyers countered with a motion seeking discovery about Enty Lawyer to successfully oppose the anti-SLAPP motion. Jenkins is justified in seeking Enty Lawyer's identity because his anonymity "deprives Jenkins of the ability to respond to his motion by challenging the basis for his statements and, relatedly, his actual malice," the plaintiff's attorneys further argued in their court papers.
Jenkins' lawyers wanted information and evidence regarding Enty Lawyer's use of anonymous sources as the basis for his allegedly false and defamatory statements about Jenkins, including his investigation and vetting of those sources. They also wanted information about Enty Lawyer's connections to the celebrities he has cited as sources for his statements about Jenkins as well as what investigation he conducted before publishing the statements.
"He portrays himself as a reliable source for celebrity news," Jenkins' lawyers stated in their court papers. "He also says that he will not reveal information until he is 100% sure, indicating that he fact-checks and investigates his work."
But the judge wrote that a journalist, "whether seemingly legitimate or illegitimate," has a qualified privilege to withhold the identity of his or her confidential sources and any unpublished information supplied those sources.
"Plaintiff's justification for her requested discovery does not meet this heightened standard," the judge said.
Enty Lawyer says in a sworn declaration that his November 2021 tweet about Jenkins and Epstein was based on a photo he saw of Epstein, former President Trump and a "laughing woman" whom he previously believed was Jenkins.
A hearing on Enty Lawyer's anti-SLAPP motion is scheduled June 9.