Adelson’s Libel Suit Against Democratic Group Thrown Out

Billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s $10 million defamation lawsuit against the National Jewish Democratic Council was thrown out by a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken in Manhattan today dismissed the suit by Adelson, a prominent backer of Republican candidates including Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, over an article on the group’s website before the 2012 presidential election.

According to Adelson, the chairman and chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS), the organization falsely claimed that he had approved of prostitution in his Macau casinos. Adelson, 80, said the council, its president, David Harris, and its chairman, Marc Stanley, “crossed the threshold from constitutionally protected speech to defamation of a public figure.”

Oetken ruled that the group’s statements consisted entirely of fair reports of a judicial proceeding and constitutionally protected opinions. He applied Nevada’s anti-SLAPP law, which targets “strategic lawsuits against public participation,” ordering Adelson to pay the defendants’ attorney fees and litigation costs.

Adelson said the group’s article claimed he had approved of prostitution in his Macau casinos and urged Romney to cease accepting his donations. The article cited allegations made in a separate lawsuit by a former employee of Sands China Ltd. (1928) Adelson denied the claims.

The suit is Adelson v. Harris, 12-cv-6052, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in Manhattan federal court at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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