District Court Finds That Journalist Defamed Prominent Haitian Attorney
In March 2014, Duverger(who lives in the United States) published an article on his website OmegaWorldNews claiming that Succar had purchased weapons in Israel and Russia on behalf of Haiti’s former prime minister, Laurent Lamothe, in violation of an arms embargo in place on the Caribbean island since 2004. According to Duverger’s publication, the weapons were bought for the purpose of suppressing political dissent in Haiti, prompting the U.S. government to investigate the purchasespurportedly made by Succar.
Succarpromptly filed a civil defamation lawsuit against Duverger in federal district court in Miami, alleging that the article was “fabricated,” “completely false,” and published solely for “unreasonable financial gain.” Succar argued that Duverger knew that the article would generate significant readership, and thus increase the advertising revenue for OmegaWorldNews, by accusing a well-respected attorney such as Succar of criminal activity.
At the court hearing, Judge Gayles agreed with Succar and found that Duverger was liable for defamation. As Succar alleged in his judicial complaint, Duverger “acted with evil motive, ill will, and malice, with an intent to injure, disgrace and defame Succar, and with intent to cause Succar emotional distress and to falsely depict Succar as engaging in criminal activity.” Judge Gayleshas now given Succar 45 days to present evidence regardingthe damages for which Duverger will be held accountable.