Bravo! Justice Prevails!

 

The Libel Terrorism Protection Act, also known as RACHEL’s LAW,
signed by Governor

Albany, NY (May 1, 2008) — New York State Governor David
Paterson yesterday signed the “Libel Terrorism Protection Act”
(S.6687/A.9652), which on March 31 passed the state’s Assembly
and Senate unanimously.

Also known as Rachel’s Law, the bill sponsored by Assemblyman
Rory Lancman (D-Queens) and Senate Deputy Majority Leader Dean G.
Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) will protect American journalists and
authors from foreign lawsuits that infringe on First Amendment
rights. The bill also received unprecedented support from
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

“New Yorkers must be able to speak out on issues of public
concern without living in fear that they will be sued outside the
United States, under legal standards inconsistent with our First
Amendment rights,” said Governor Paterson.  “This legislation
will help ensure of the freedoms enjoyed by New York authors.”

Reflecting the New York legislation’s importance, U.S. Rep. Peter
King (R-N.Y.) on April 16 introduced a  similar bill, the Freedom
of Speech Protection Act (H.R. 5814), in the House of
Represenatives.

In Ehrenfeld v. Mahfouz, New York State’s highest court held that
it was unable to protect Dr. Ehrenfeld from a British lawsuit
filed by Saudi billionaire Khalid Salim Bin Mahfouz. Britain’s
High Court ordered her to pay over $225,000 in damages and legal
fees to Bin Mahfouz, apologize and destroy copies of her books.

Instead, November 2006, Dr. Ehrenfeld sought a U.S. federal court
order to protect her constitutional rights. But a New York Court
of Appeals ruling with national implications sent legal
shockwaves throughout American newsrooms.

The New York court potentially undermined U.S. journalists’
ability to expose terrorism’s financial and logistical support
networks, when it ruled that the court lacks jurisdiction to
protect Americans – on U.S. soil – from foreign defamation
judgments that contradict the First Amendment to the United
States Constitution.

Rachel’s Law declares overseas defamation judgments unenforceable
in New York State unless the foreign defamation law provides, in
substance and application, the same free speech protections
guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. The law gives New York
residents and publishers the opportunity to have their day in
court.

The bill could not have passed without the expert assistance of
Attorney Daniel Kornsein of New York City’s Kornstein, Veisz,
Wexler & Pollard, LLP. Kornstein represented Dr. Ehrenfeld in
Ehrenfeld v. Mahfouz.

Its supporters included First Amendment Attorneys Floyd Abrams,
David Siegel, Samuel Adaby, Harvey Silverglate; the New York City
Bar Association; PEN; The Authors Guild; New York D.A. Robert M.
Morgenthau; Former Secretary of State George Shultz; Former CIA
Director R. James Woolsey; State University of New York Counsel
Nicholas Rostow; 9/11 Families for a Secure America; The
Association of American Publishers; Act for America; Rabbi Aaron
Raskin; New York Board of Rabbis President Joseph Potasnik; many
other public officials and tens of thousands of concerned New
Yorkers and Americans, especially New York business leader
Lawrence Kadish and ACD Senior Fellow Alyssa A. Lappen.

“This law will give New York’s journalists, authors and press the
protection and tools they need to continue to fearlessly expose
the truth about terrorism and its enablers, and to maintain New
York’s place as the free speech capitol of the world,” Lancman
stated.

“The truth is a critically-important component in the War on
Terror,” said Senator Skelos.  “This important new law will
protect American authors and journalists who expose terrorist
networks and their financiers.”

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau said: “Terrorism
and terrorist financing are matters of vital interest to all New
Yorkers, in no small part because New York City remains a target
of significance for international terrorists. New York authors
must have the freedom to investigate, write and publish on
terrorism and other matters of public importance, subject only to
limitations that are consistent with the U.S. Constitution. This
legislation will help to ensure such freedom.”

Today, Governor Paterson declared the intention of New York
State, the publishing capital of America, to safeguard the First
Amendment and its courageous writers.

Rachel’s Law marks an important step in Dr. Ehrenfeld’s efforts
to stop Arab billionaires like Khalid bin Mahfouz from attempting
to silence U.S. writers who  expose Saudi terrorist funding and
global radical Muslim organizations, including al Qaeda and
Hamas.

Rachel’s Law — and your financial support—now make it
possible for Dr. Ehrenfeld to return to court for a declaratory
judgment against Mahfouz. Your generosity makes possible the
continued exposue of financial jihad by courageous investigative
journalists and researchers.  We are only as strong as our
supporters, and your financial assistance is essential to our
success.

The American Center for Democracy (ACD) is a tax-deductible,
non-profit organization that qualify as exempt organizations
under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and
Regulations.

Your support is important to us. Thank you for helping our work

            Contact:

Rachel Ehrenfeld

[email protected]

American Center for Democray

212-399-4246    

 

Leave a Reply

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:


Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!