The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) recently hired convicted felon Bill Cosby's former lawyer to go after Warner Bros. and Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood for his movie Richard Jewell.
Marty Singer, who has developed a reputation as a "guard dog" for Hollywood clients, threatened a defamation suit against Eastwood and Warner Bros. for the film's alleged portrayal of late AJC reporter Kathy Scruggs having sex with an FBI agent to get a scoop on Richard Jewell. Jewell was wrongly suspected of committing the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing.
"It is highly ironic that a film purporting to tell a tragic story of how the reputation of an FBI suspect was grievously tarnished appears bent on a path to severely tarnish the reputation of the AJC, a newspaper with a respected 150-year-old publishing legacy," Singer said in a letter threatening the defamation suit.
"The 'Richard Jewell' film falsely portrays the AJC and its personnel as extraordinarily reckless, using unprofessional and highly inappropriate reporting methods, and engaging in constitutional malice by recklessly disregarding information inconsistent with its planned reporting," the seven-page complaint letter read. "This, too, is the height of irony, since all those involved in the film’s creation and dissemination and its false portrayal of the AJC are the ones who have acted recklessly and are engaging in constitutional malice."
Singer's letter went on to demand that Eastwood and Warner Bros. issue a statement "publicly acknowledging that some events were imagined for dramatic purposes and artistic license and dramatization were used in the film’s portrayal of events and characters."
Singer has a history of sending threatening letters. In 2015, he sent one to the Washington Free Beacon on behalf of billionaire Tom Steyer, who is currently running for the Democratic nomination for president. The four-page letter called for a retraction of a Free Beacon article on Steyer's "deep ties" to a 2015 scandal involving Democratic then-governor of Oregon John Kitzhaber. The Free Beacon did not retract the story, and Singer took no further action.