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A federal judge sitting in Wyoming has dismissed a defamation lawsuit against actor Alec Baldwin over online harassment filed by the family of a Wyoming Marine who was killed in Afghanistan.
A federal judge has dismissed a defamation lawsuit over online harassment filed against the actor Alec Baldwin by the family of an officer who was killed in Afghanistan, saying the Wyoming court did not have jurisdiction over the case.
While speaking to the reporters at the end of the court pronouncement, the attorney for the family said it was not the end as the case would be refiled elsewhere.
The sisters and widow of Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum alleged Baldwin subjected them to online harassment after he posted and commented on a photo shared online by one of McCollum’s sisters, Roice McCollum, who had been in Washington during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection.
According to the lawsuit, Baldwin had donated $5,000 to the family after learning of the death of Rylee McCollum in a bombing at the airport in Kabul in August 2021, just weeks before his daughter was born. Baldwin had contacted the deceased’s sister, Roice McCollum, via Instagram.
In January 2022, Baldwin saw that Roice McCollum posted a nearly year-old picture of the US Capitol demonstrators from former President Donald Trump’s rally. The picture was taken on January 6, 2021, the day Congress counted the Electoral College votes from the 2020 presidential election, the complaint stated.
Subsequently, Baldwin sent her a private message and confirmed she had organized the fundraiser for her brother, the lawsuit said. Although she responded that her participation in the protest was “perfectly legal,” according to court documents.Baldwin
told Roice McCollum he would share her photo with his 2.4 million Instagram followers and wrote: “Good luck.”
According to the lawsuit, Roice McCollum got hundreds of nasty responses in reaction to his post. The complaint requested $25 million in damages on behalf of her sister Cheyenne McCollum and Rylee’s wife, Jiennah McCollum.
Baldwin requested that the case be dismissed, claiming that he was expressing his political views, that he had not been in Wyoming, and that the charges made by Cheyenne and Jiennah McCollum should be rejected because he had made no statements about them.
The case could not be brought in Wyoming, according to U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal, because Baldwin made the posts from New York and they were not directed specifically at a Wyoming audience. Her conclusion made no mention of the accusations in the complaint’s truthfulness.
“We are pleased with this victory,” said Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas. “This is a big step toward throwing out the lawsuit, which is trying to punish Mr. Baldwin for giving his political opinion.”
Dennis Postiglione, an attorney for the McCollums, said that the case would probably be refiled in New York, where Baldwin lives, or in California, where he works.
Rylee McCollum was one of 13 US service members killed August 26, 2021, during a suicide bomber attack at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.
After his death, a GoFundMe account was started for his widow, Jiennah McCollum, “and her soon-to-be-born daughter,” the suit says. Baldwin heard about the GoFundMe account and sent $5,000 to the Marine’s sister, Roice McCollum, for Jiennah and her child as what he called “a tribute to a fallen soldier,” according to the suit.