Fantastic news, America-our constitutional right to repeatedly call a man a murderer has been upheld! Former congressmen Gary Condit, who allegedly caused 9/11 (j/k Gary!) sued Vanity Fair scribe Dominick Dunne for defamation, because Dunne kept claiming he knew that Condit knew stuff he wasn't telling about the murder of former Condit intern/paramour Chandra Levy (which Condit is totally responsible for, allegedly). Dunne went on the tee-vee and said "I think he knows more about what did happen than he has ever said," so the judge dismissed the suit becuz "I think" means it was a constitutionally protected statement of opinion, not assertion of fact. Or, as the judge put it, "Dunne does not suggest that his opinion statements are based on any additional facts not known to the public." This is terrible news for everyone, as now we all actually do have to be careful to use those stupid weasel words. Like "allegedly"!
For years, bloggers and other assorted morons have assumed "allegedly" is some sort of magical "get out of libel free" card, when in fact it is just an annoying affection (except when we use it, then it's a funny joke). But if "I think" is now the magical line between defamation and simple innocent speculation, well, consider us hypothetically back on the accused bandwagon!
This is the second lawsuit Condit's lost against Dunne, and Dunne just keeps accusing the never-charged man of "knowing" things about this murder, repeatedly implying that the former congressmen is-as pretty much everyone in America suspects-personally responsible.
Now we can accuse the mildly famous of anything as long as we couch it in tentativeness. We thought we heard that maybe John Mayer supports Robert Mugabe? Oh, and Paul Janka, accused rapist, can't wait to meet all of you guys!