Lin Wood, a defamation attorney supportive of Trump, held accountable for defaming his former law partners through allegations of ‘criminal extortion.’

In this December 2, 2020 file photo, Attorney Lin Wood, who is a member of President Donald Trump’s legal team, is seen gesturing while speaking at a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia.

A federal court on Tuesday found L. Lin Wood, a prominent defamation attorney known for his support of Donald Trump, liable for defaming his former law partners.

Attorneys Nicole Wade, Jonathan Grunberg, and Taylor Wilson have been in a dispute with Wood since February 2020 regarding the terms of their departure from his law firm. Wood accused his former partners of extortion on the Telegram app after a series of unsuccessful agreements and legal threats concerning the amount and timing of their payment.

According to Judge Michael J. Brown of the Northern District of Georgia, the crucial point to consider is whether the accusations made were false and defamatory. In his statement, he affirms that the plaintiffs argue that the accusations were indeed false and defamatory, and the court concurs with this assertion.

The initial failed agreement regarding the division of fees in the business dissolution only involved six cases. These cases consisted of three that were still pending resolution and three that had been settled but not yet paid out. Under the agreement, the plaintiffs would have received a percentage of the future fees, ranging from 50% to 80%.

According to the court, Defendant informed Plaintiffs that he would not adhere to the agreement, even though it was initially proposed by him. This decision was based on Defendant’s belief that there were additional matters that needed to be resolved between the parties. As a result, a second agreement was reached.

Read More:  Understanding Your Knife Rights in Kansas

The March 2020 agreement, importantly, also contained a non-disparagement clause that prohibited Wood from making negative remarks about his former law partners. However, this agreement unraveled by July 2020.

According to the court, on August 25, 2020, the Plaintiffs informed the Defendant about their intention to sue him for breach of contract and fraud if he failed to meet their demands. However, the Defendant requested the Plaintiffs to hold off on filing the lawsuit in order to explore the possibility of reaching a settlement. To honor this request, both parties agreed to delay the filing of the lawsuit until August 27, 2020, and the Plaintiffs even shared a copy of their draft complaint with the Defendant.

According to the court notes, the accusations began the day before the deadline.

On August 26, 2020, Wood initiated communication with the clients and co-counsel of his former partners, referring to them as “extortionists” who were attempting to sue him in order to extract money. The three lawyers, aware of these extortion accusations, promptly sent Wood a demand letter for $1.25 million. This amount was proposed as a resolution to all outstanding claims relating to unpaid fees, breach of the non-disparagement agreement, attorneys’ fees, and defamation.

Wood’s former partners took legal action against him in state court, accusing him of breaching the contract after another deadline had passed.

Next came the onslaught of online defamation.

In a federal court’s opinion, it was revealed that the Defendant had made multiple accusations of criminal extortion against the Plaintiffs over a period of five weeks. These accusations were posted on a social media platform called Telegram and were viewed by hundreds of thousands of people.

Read More:  Man who disappeared over 10 years ago found in lake on Ga.-Ala. state line driving truck registered to him

In March 2022, Wood faced a defamation lawsuit from his former law partners in federal court. Throughout the course of the case, the court held Wood in contempt for making disparaging remarks about his ex-partners, resulting in a $5,000 fine.

The court, after considering motions for summary judgment from both parties, ultimately sided with the plaintiff on the defamation claims.

According to the opinion, the Defendant fails to provide any evidence to support his accusations. Furthermore, he acknowledges that the Plaintiffs did not commit the crime of extortion. However, he argues that his accusations were not false because they were expressed using loose, figurative, or hyperbolic language that could not be construed as a genuine accusation of criminal conduct by a reasonable person. However, the Court disagrees with this assertion.

In the ruling, it provides numerous instances where Wood engaged in defamation against his colleagues, demonstrating his clear intent behind his words.

According to the opinion, the emphasis is placed on length.

Defendant’s posts included a slew of assertions that preclude any inference of non-literalness, including that Plaintiffs engaged in “criminal extortion,” “committed the crime of attempted extortion,” and were “guilty of the crime”; “[t]he law does not sanction lawyers’ engaging in such conduct”; “other lawyers … agree”; Defendant was “considering whether to pursue criminal actions against Plaintiffs”; Plaintiffs were “extortionist lawyers who should be disbarred”; and “[t]he public should file bar complaints against them.” Defendant made some of these statements in a discovery response that he posted on Telegram, further bolstering the impression he meant them. He also told readers his discovery response was “correct and truthful” because, “[a]s a trial lawyer with 43 years experience,” he knew it had to be.

In response to his ex-partners’ claims, the attorney, known for his involvement in high-profile cases like JonBenét Ramsey’s parents and Richard Jewell, dismissed their allegations as nothing more than baseless and frivolous litigation. He asserted that his opinions, which are firmly grounded in factual evidence, are protected speech under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Read More:  Fuel Tax Enforcement Bill is signed into law by Inslee

Law&Crime reached out to Wood for comment on the court’s ruling but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

Read More:

Leave a Comment