Jim Fetzer’s defense against Lenny Pozner’s defamation suit got interesting today, day two of the penalty phase of the trial. (Disclaimer: I have been friends with Jim since 2006, and though I don’t always agree with him, I respect his courage and sincerity. It was an honor to have lunch with him on this, the critical day of the penalty phase of his trial.)
Pozner won the first phase last June when the court determined that four of Fetzer’s statements alleging a fake death certificate for Noah Pozner were defamatory; then on September 13 Fetzer was found in contempt of court for sharing images of Pozner’s deposition. Fetzer argues that he shared the images, which the court had deemed confidential, as part of his legal defense research. Fetzer claims the images show that the Lenny Pozner in the deposition is not the same person depicted in at least some previous publicly circulated images of Lenny Pozner.
Pozner is asking for one million dollars in damages from Fetzer. The jury’s job is to determine an award amount, which theoretically could range anywhere between zero and one million dollars.
The penalty phase of the trial began Monday with opening arguments and a lengthy videotaped deposition of a forensic psychologist, who asserts that Pozner suffers from PTSD as a result of Fetzer’s four defamatory statements. The forensic psychologist, who was presumably hired by Pozner’s legal team, predictably supported Pozner’s narrative: After suffering the loss of his son Noah at Sandy Hook, Pozner says, he experienced PTSD for more than a year, only to have his recovery cut short, and his symptoms exacerbated, by his discovery that online Sandy Hook skeptics were claiming that the school shooting was a hoax in which nobody died. Since then, Pozner says, he has been waging an online battle against Sandy Hook skeptics (he calls them “hoaxers”) which has kept him mired in PTSD. Much or most of the suffering he has experienced, Pozner suggests, is the fault of Jim Fetzer, whom Pozner and his lawyers are casting as the kingpin and prime inspiration of the Sandy Hook skeptics’ movement.
Fetzer’s legal team questioned the “Fetzer caused my PTSD” claim. While acknowledging that Pozner would have suffered PTSD from the loss of his son in December 2012, they suggested that it was not entirely Fetzer’s fault that Pozner has been re-traumatizing himself by spending much of his time since 2014 combing the internet for material that he says traumatizes him and trying to get it removed. Fetzer’s team’s cross-examination of the psychologist pointed out that normally PTSD sufferers avoid stimuli that reawaken the trauma.
Read full article here…
From The Wrap:
The award of damages comes four months after Dane County Circuit Judge Frank Remington issued a summary judgement that Fetzer and co-author Mike Palecek had defamed Pozner by falsely claiming that the death certificate for Pozner’s son, Noah, had been faked.
From Rational Wiki:
Fetzer was sued in Wisconsin for defamation and libel by Leonard Pozner, a father of a child who died in the Sandy Hook massacre, primarily for his book, Nobody Died At Sandy Hook: It was a FEMA Drill to Promote Gun Control. Fetzer represented himself pro se in the case because he stated it was impossible to find a lawyer to represent him. “Nobody wants to touch” their case, Fetzer said. Fetzer actually argued in Court that the original reasons he called the death certificate a fake were untrue, but then went on to claim that because many variations of the death certificate had been released (including with and without an embossed seal, with handwritten numbers at the top, or with a redaction of the social security number) that the certificates were fabricated. Handwritten differences and variations in the seal on the death certificate was apparently sufficient evidence for Fetzer to claim that Noah Pozner didn’t exist. The judge in the case said there was no question of fact in dispute, and granted summary judgment against Fetzer in favor of Mr. Pozner in the libel case on the issue of liability, allowing it to proceed to a jury to consider damages. The case is currently pending a jury trial on the issue of damages only.