Judge Dismisses ‘Anthrax’ Libel Case Against ‘NYT’

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A federal judge on Friday dismissed a libel lawsuit filed against The New York Times by a former Army scientist once identified as a person of interest in the 2001 anthrax attacks.

U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton in Alexandria dismissed the case a week after lawyers for the Times argued that Steven Hatfill should be considered a public figure under libel law, which makes it much more difficult for a public figure to win a judgment than a private citizen.

The judge did not explain his ruling in the order issued Friday.

Hatfill’s lawyers had argued that even if Hatfill qualified as a public figure, they could still prevail at trial because they had uncovered serious flaws in the reporting of columnist Nicholas Kristof.

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