Court Tosses Bob Barr's Defamation Suit Against Clinton

Former Congressman Bob Barr sued Bill Clinton, James Carville and Larry Flynt for $30 million claiming they defamed him by conspiring to spread misinformation about his private life in retaliation for Barr's support of the Clinton impeachment effort.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said Barr failed to make his conspiracy claim against Clinton and Carville within the three years permitted by law. As to Flynt, the panel ruled that Barr's claim is barred by the First Amendment because he failed to show that the information printed in a one-time issue called "The Flynt Report" was false or was published with knowledge that it was false.

Do you remember when Flynt took out a full-page ad in the Washington Post offering to pay $1 million to anyone willing to go public with an affair with a member of Congress: Here's what he got:

Flynt's article included allegations by Barr's former wife that the congressman had an affair in the mid-1980s. It also said that in contrast to his public opposition to abortion, he drove his wife to a clinic to have an abortion performed.

Here was the pork:

Barr alleged Carville gave Flynt Barr's FBI files and other documents as part of a smear campaign, but Flynt denied it, saying his information came from a private investigator and records from Barr's divorce. A lower federal court had dismissed the case in March 2003.

Here was the beef:

Flynt obtained the information on Barr after he ran a full page in The Washington Post offering $1 million to anyone who would acknowledge having had an extramarital affair with a member of Congress. Flynt said his goal was to "expose the hypocrisy" of members of Congress urging Clinton's impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky affair.

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