Gun Group to Appeal Dismissal of $12 Million Defamation Lawsuit Against Katie Couric

'The nature of the ruling is so dangerous to our liberty that VCDL must stay in the fight and prevail'

Katie Couric / Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

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The Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) announced on Tuesday it will appeal a district court's decision to dismiss their $12 million defamation suit against Katie Couric.

"The VCDL Board of Directors, after careful consideration, has decided that the recent ruling dismissing the VCDL case against Katie Couric, et al, CANNOT STAND!" Philip Van Cleave, VCDL president, said in a message to the group's members. "The lawsuit has far reaching implications for all Americans. If the media can be allowed to change a person's words to suit the media's own needs or beliefs, then a grievous blow will have been struck against the very core of the freedom that the United States stands for!

"NO! We are going to fight this because too much is at stake."

The gun group's announcement comes days after Judge John Gibney Jr. dismissed their case against Couric by arguing, in part, that the deceptive editing of their interview with the gun group was not actually misleading since the judge did not like the answers that were removed.

"The plaintiffs' defamation claims fail because the interview scene is not false," Judge Gibney wrote. "Under the Gun portrays members of the VCDL not answering the question posed by Couric. In reality, members of the VCDL did not answer the question posed by Couric. They talked about background checks and gun laws generally, but did not answer the question of how to prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing guns without background checks.

"The editing simply dramatizes the sophistry of the VCDL members."

The VCDL characterized Gibney's ruling as a dangerous attack on American's liberty.

"The nature of the ruling is so dangerous to our liberty that VCDL must stay in the fight and prevail," Van Cleave said.

The dispute stems from the Under the Gun documentary which Couric starred in and produced. At the 21:48 mark of the film, VCDL members are shown being asked a question about how to prevent terrorists from obtaining guns and then sitting in silence for nine seconds apparently unable to provide an answer.

However, raw audio of the interview obtained by the Washington Free Beacon shows several VCDL members immediately responded to the question with several different answers.

Couric and her fellow filmmakers faced backlash from across the media spectrum once news that the film was deceptively edited broke. Accusations of deceptive editing in Fed Up, another Couric documentary, surfaced soon after. However, Yahoo News has stood by Couric as their global anchor and NBC News has invited her to guest host despite the incident.

The appeal will be filed with the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The merits of the case will be heard by a three-judge panel in the coming months.

Stephen Gutowski   Email Stephen | Full Bio | RSS
Stephen Gutowski is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. He founded his own site as a junior in college and has been writing about news and politics since that time. He spent 4 years with the Media Research Center and was most recently with the Capitol City Project. His email address is Gutowski@FreeBeacon.com. His twitter handle is @StephenGutowski.

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