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Blogger appeals $4 million reward for defamation of Cardi B. Expert gives him ‘little chance’ – Rolling Stone

Beleaguered blogger Tasha K has followed through on her vow to appeal Cardi B’s massive $4 million defamation award, and the 45-page opening brief filed this week is a work.

The attorneys who submitted it even told the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals that they weren’t asking for a chance to argue its merits in person, writing that “the decision-making process would not be significantly aided by oral argument.” .

Tasha K, whose real name is Latasha Kebe, argues in the filing that Cardi’s January jury verdict should be overturned on a variety of grounds, including Kebe’s simple assertion that she believed Cardi B had herpes when she made the false claim about the STD to her online audience. .

“It’s a conundrum,” said Michael Overing, an attorney and assistant professor at USC Annenberg who specializes in defamation and First Amendment law. rolling stone. “So when I allege you had a disgusting disease, since I believed it to be true, you don’t have the right to sue?” That does not make any sense. It does not mean anything.”

Overing also took issue with the new appeal’s assertion that it is “impermissible to use a defendant’s hatred, malice, ill will, or desire to injure as evidence of actual malice.”

“Are not the wickedness and ill will of the accused evidence of malevolence? What is this proof of, if not proof of wickedness? he asks, laughing.

“I think he has a pretty slim chance of winning,” Overing said of Kebe’s overall appeal. “She has the right to appeal. But everything I saw showed that she had a fair trial. It was pretty clear that the things she said about Cardi were motivated by meanness and meanness, and she did them only to increase her (audience). Because of that, she wasn’t really believable.

Cardi’s legal team declined to comment on the appeal on Wednesday.

The Grammy-winning rapper, whose legal name is Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar, won her $4 million verdict in January after a jury sided with the “WAP” singer on her three allegations of defamation, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

After the verdict, a federal judge in Georgia ordered Kebe to remove more than a dozen defamatory videos and several social media posts from the internet in which Kebe offensively referred to Cardi, calling her names. such as “Cold Sore B” and “cokehead”. .”

Cardi filed the libel and libel suit in March 2019. Taking the witness stand to argue her case at trial, Cardi told the jury she suffered from “anxiety” and “depression.” extremes after Kebe posted YouTube videos with the false claims. She said the intense stress caused her weight to fluctuate and led to problems in her personal relationships, a court source said. rolling stone.

In her new appeal brief, Kebe goes on to claim that she has never published anything with “genuine malice”. She and her attorneys also claim the trial court judge erred in barring Kebe from presenting certain evidence regarding Cardi’s alleged “character.”

“The district court’s erroneous exclusion of the plaintiff’s character evidence resulted in a very unbalanced presentation of the evidence to the jury. Because the jury did not learn the type of conduct the plaintiff engages in or who the plaintiff really is as a person, the jury returned a blanket verdict for the plaintiff,” the new filing states.

Overing also questioned that claim on Wednesday. He says the issue at the heart of the lawsuit was whether Cardi’s reputation had been tainted by false claims — not Cardi’s character.

“Here’s the thing: when you say something about someone with a repugnant disease, it’s presumed to damage their reputation,” he says. “So now it’s really on the defendant to prove the ‘truth’ or to prove that there was no reputational harm.”

He says Kebe’s simple argument that Cardi B’s stardom has continued to rise “doesn’t get very far.”

“You’d have to demonstrate with admissible evidence that no one avoided her, no one made fun of her, no one refused to be seen with her, no one refused to date her. That would be the kind of evidence that would be admissible,” he said, and Kebe failed to convince the jury of that.