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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 July, 2004, 09:41 GMT 10:41 UK
Film-maker Moore facing lawsuit
Michael Moore
Michael Moore won an Oscar for Bowling for Columbine
Michael Moore's lawyer has asked a judge to dismiss a libel lawsuit brought against the documentary maker.

James Nichols, the brother of Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry, claims Moore tricked him into appearing in the film Bowling for Columbine.

The 2002 Oscar-winning documentary looked into guns and violence in American culture.

Nichols also contends Moore libelled him in the film by linking him to the 1995 bombing that killed 168 people.

He has accused Moore of libel, defamation of character, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Free speech

Nichols is seeking a jury trial and damages ranging from $10m to $20m on each of the nine counts.

Moore's lawyer, Herschel Fink, argued that his client's assertions in Bowling for Columbine are protected as free speech.

This includes implying that James Nichols "slipped away" from authorities investigating the Oklahoma City bombing.

He said: "It's a bit of hyperbole, but ... hyperbole is also a Supreme Court-protected form of speech."

Ruling

Wednesday's hearing focused on whether the one-year statute of limitations for libel claims had expired by the time Nichols filed his case on 27 October 2003.

The film opened across the US on 25 October 2002, Fink said.

But Nichols' lawyer, Stefani Godsey, said the film opened on 28 October in the area of Michigan where James Nichols lived, and he was not aware of the movie's existence until the following day.

The judge did not indicate when he would issue a ruling.




SEE ALSO:
School shootings film hits Cannes
18 May 03  |  Entertainment
Moore fires Oscar anti-war salvo
24 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Anti-gun film wins top award
09 Mar 03  |  Entertainment


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