A $1.35 million libel suit filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) against Andrew Whitehead of Anti-CAIR (ACAIR), who called CAIR a “terrorist front organization,” that was “founded by Hamas supporters,” and was working to “make radical Islam the dominant religion in the United States,” has been dismissed with prejudice. According to ACAIR’s Mr. Whitehead, who posts at www.anti-cair-net.org, “I am pleased to report the CAIR lawsuit has been dismissed after the parties reached a mutually agreeable settlement.”
Terms of the settlement are confidential. However, no apology was issued, no retraction or corrections made, and the statements that triggered CAIR’s suit remain on the ACAIR website.
CAIR’s suit was filed on March 31, 2004 after Mr. Whitehead posted the following statements:
CAIR claimed these statements were false, that Mr. Whitehead made them “with knowledge of their falsity,” and that the statements were actionable because “they impute the commission of a criminal offense.” CAIR claimed injury to its “standing and reputation throughout the United States and elsewhere,” and sought $1 million in compensatory damages, $350,000 in punitive damages, plus legal fees and interest.
On June 20, 2005, and following submission of discovery requests by Mr. Whitehead’s counsel, Reed D. Rubinstein of Greenberg Traurig LLP’s Washington, D.C. office, seeking information regarding CAIR’s finances, its relationship to Hamas, and its ties to Saudi Arabia and other Islamic radicals, CAIR dropped nearly all of its original claims. The revised complaint alleged only the following statements to be false and defamatory:
Subsequently, Mr. Whitehead’s counsel filed papers demonstrating the extensive links between, and actions taken by, CAIR and its principal leaders with and on behalf of Hamas terrorists, foreign Islamic radicals, and domestic Islamic extremists. Among other things, the pleadings showed how CAIR had used its website to exploit the 9/11 atrocities, funneling money to the notorious Hamas front group the “Holy Land Foundation” (HLF). HLF, organized and operated by a CAIR-Austin, Texas board member who was a close and long-time associate of CAIR’s executive officers, financed Hamas, and was shut down by the United States government in December, 2001. HLF was also shown to have provided funds to CAIR.
Shortly after Mr. Whitehead’s counsel filed
these papers, and shortly before a court hearing on Mr. Whitehead’s
request for access to CAIR’s financial data and relationship with Hamas
and Islamic radicals was to be held, the case was settled and dismissed with prejudice.*
*(When a lawsuit is dismissed with prejudice, the court is saying that it has made a final determination on the merits of the case, and that the plaintiff is therefore forbidden from filing another lawsuit based on the same grounds. FindLaw)