U.S. judge dismisses defamation lawsuit by former AIPAC official
Steve Rosen sued his former employers for publicly criticizing him after he was charged with passing sensitive information to Israeli diplomats.
A Washington D.C. Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit against AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, on Wednesday, for allegedly defaming its former foreign policy boss when they publicly attributed their firing of him to what they described as his sub-standard performance.
Judge Erik Christian determined that the comments about Steve Rosen made by an AIPAC spokesperson and published in the New York Times did not constitute grounds for a defamation lawsuit.
In his suit, first filed in March 2009, Rosen demanded damages of $21 million for comments by AIPAC officials, which Rosen claims they knew to be lies, while criminally disregarding the damage it would do to his reputation.
Rosen was sacked by the AIPAC in 2005 after he and fellow staffer Keith Weissman were charged with the crimes "mishandling classified information" and passing sensitive information to Israeli diplomats and journalists.
The charges against the two, however, were dropped before the case reached a courtroom. The FBI claimed that it had enough evidence for convictions, but all the charges were dropped nonetheless.
An AIPAC spokesperson said, "We are very pleased that the Superior Court has granted summary judgment and ended Steve Rosen's defamation lawsuit against AIPAC and its spokesman."
"The court’s decision, that the statements made by AIPAC and its spokesman were not defamatory, support AIPAC’s continued assertion that this lawsuit was frivolous and had no basis in fact," AIPAC said.
Steve Rosen told Haaretz that he will likely appeal the court's decision to dismiss his defamation lawsuit.