Actress-singer Courtney Love has won her libel case, the first U.S. trial for libel over a tweet.
Love had tweeted in 2010 that her then-lawyer Rhonda Holmes was “bought off.” Holmes represented her in a fraud case related to Kurt Cobain’s estate, according to CTV News. The tweet read: “I was f***ing devastated when Rhonda J Holmes esq of san diego was bought off.”
The jury just decided tonight that Love is not guilty of libel. ABC News reported:
“After deliberating for just three hours, the jury handed down a verdict saying Love did write the tweet but that the plaintiff did not prove by clear and convincing evidence that she knew the statement was false.”
As evidence, Spin magazine cited the question posed to jury members: “Did Rhonda Holmes prove by clear and convincing evidence that Courtney Love knew it was false or doubted the truth of it?” The jury said no, according to Spin.
Love responded to tonight’s vedict saying that “I feel really good,” Spin reported. She added: “I am relieved. I am really happy to have had good counsel for the first time in 24 years.” Love didn’t tweet during the case, iMediaEthics notes. Her last tweet was Jan. 11. She just tweeted tonight about the case, writing:
I can’t thank you enough Dongell Lawrence Finney LLP, the most incredible law firm on the planet.We won this epic battle. #justiceprevails
— Courtney Love Cobain (@Courtney) January 25, 2014
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According to the Associated Press, Love explained her Twitter absence: “I didn’t tweet out of respect for the case.”
According to the New York Daily News, Holmes wanted “$8 million in damages.” Holmes’ lawyer, Mitchell Langberg told Reuters that “the case was about vindication of her reputation.” Langberg went on: “What she’s really happy about is when the jury found that she didn’t get bought off, that she didn’t abandon her client for money.”
The trial lasted eight days and was in Los Angeles, the Daily News and NBC News noted.
In 2011, Love settled a libel lawsuit over a tweet about a fashion designer.
In 2012, the UK High Court ruled on a Twitter libel case, ordering Indian Premier League founder Lalit Modi to pay almost $800,000 over a tweet about a retired cricket player, Chris Cairns, as iMediaEthics wrote at the time.
iMediaEthics is writing to Holmes for comment and will update with any response.
UPDATE: 1/24/2014 9:27 PM EST: This story has been updated to add Love’s tweet and more information about the case
UPDATE: 1/25/2014 12:49 AM EST: Added Holmes’ attorney’s comments to Reuters