“Empire” in this case refers to the Hearst publishing empire and SLAPP refers to a “Strategic Lawsuit against public participation” defense. Hearst’s publication Esquire Magazine lampooned Joseph Farah, saying that the book published by WorldNetDaily, Where’s the Birth Certificate? by Jerome Corsi was being recalled from bookstore shelves. Farah sued for libel.
I speculated last June that Esquire Magazine might use the District of Columbia’s anti-SLAPP statute to derail Farah’s lawsuit, and so it has come to pass. The special motion in an anti-SLAPP defense requires that the plaintiff demonstrate that they can likely prove their case, and do so before any pre-trial discovery and depositions takes place.