Libel Suit Against NY Times Set to Proceed

( – A US federal judge determined on October 10 that a libel lawsuit against former New York Times journalist Taylor Lorenz can officially proceed. According to court documents, this legal clash started in 2021 when the company Influences Inc. and its owner Ariadna Jacob sued the reporter and the liberal newspaper over a report that suggested Jacob “leaked” a nude photo of an individual.

US District Judge for New York’s Southern District Edgardo Ramos formally allowed Jacob’s lawsuit to proceed. Ramos, who was appointed by former US President Barack Obama, said that he took this decision as Lorenz’s argument that there’s a distinction between “publicly leaked” and “leaked” was unpersuasive. According to different reports, Ramos already dismissed some defamation allegations in the plaintiff back in June, which allowed this one to officially proceed. The New York Times journalist’s legal team said they disagreed with this decision and even motioned for it to be reconsidered.

In the decision, the judge highlighted the reporter’s communications with Jacob before the article was published. In the piece, Lorenz described allegations that the Influences’ owner had distributed the nude photo “privately.” However, she assured that no one alleged Jacob publicly leaked them.

The article, which was published in the liberal newspaper in August 2020, had a quote that stated that Jacob “leaked” the photos and sent them to “people in my house,” potential investors, and even some “business partners.” The article had another quote that said Jacob did this to “slander my name.”

In his decision, Ramos wrote that Lorenz’s messages didn’t use the word “leak” without using the “publicly’ qualifier.” He also noted it was difficult to determine how the emails could show her understanding of the difference between two terms when the journalist only used “one.”

The judge also admitted the case would have been different if the article published in the newspaper omitted the language before “and.” However, he explained that the article clearly suggested that Jacob leaked the pictures and distributed them privately.

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