A libel suit against the Associated Press by Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, was dismissed by a federal judge Tuesday.
In a 21-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle said Deripaska’s lawsuit over a March story about his business relationship with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had “cherry-picked” statements from the story that he wrongly claimed were defamatory.
“Deripaska has cherry-picked sentences and strung them together to give the AP’s article an effect it does not have when read in full,” the judge wrote. “But whole context is how courts determine whether there is defamation.”
Huvelle wrote that the lawsuit failed to show the AP story was written with disregard for the truth or published maliciously, a legal standard Deripaska would have to meet for the case to move forward. Instead, the suit complained that the story ignored background information Deripaska considered critical.
“As the AP points out,” Huvelle wrote in her decision, “this simply is not enough to make out a plausible case of actual malice.”
The story in question reported on how Manafort had proposed a business strategy to Deripaska a decade ago, supporting pro-Russian political parties and influencing politics and news coverage in the United States and Europe.
The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice, meaning Deripaska cannot file it in court again.