A number of years ago, I got an email from a lawyer asking me about a blog post I did for an old Corus project called ExploreMusic entitled “My Cupcake with Courtney.” It was an account of a backstage interview with Courtney Love wherein she opened up about a lot of the legal and financial problems she was having at the time.
The lawyer wanted to ask about one particular sentence in the story: her reference to an attorney she had hired as being “bought off” (or “they got to her”–I can’t remember), insinuating that this lawyer’s goodwill client relationship had somehow been corrupted by unknown outside forces.
Naturally, I didn’t go into detail. I know the laws around libel and slander and made only a vague reference to the comment. This, along with a few other ill-advised references made elsewhere online by Ms. Love, was enough to tweak the attention of this lawyer and ended up seeing her firm sue Courtney.
With that phone call, I’d suddenly and unwittingly become a tool for the prosecution. I was summoned for a deposition in Los Angeles after which I was selected as a witness in the case of Rhonda J. Holmes vs. Courtney Love Cobain. I would be testifying against the Widow Cobain,
And so it came to pass one January a couple of years ago, I found myself in Courtroom 56 of the LA County Courthouse, sitting in the witness stand next to a 12-person jury. The room looked exactly–and I mean exactly–what we saw in the OJ case back in the 90s.
I was sworn in, questioned by the prosecution cross-examined by the defense and the subjected to a redirect. The whole thing lasted maybe 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in the last row of the courtroom in a stylish white dress was Ms. Love herself, listening to my every word.
Unfortunately for the prosecution and fortunately for Courtney, my testimony was useless. There was honestly nothing of substance I could offer to the prosecution’s case. I was thanked for my service and dismissed. A few days later, the jury and judge ruled in Courtney’s favour. She was off the hook.
Meanwhile, a weird thing happened. Courtney and I became buddies–sort of. We see each other occasionally and text every couple of weeks. We’ve kept in touch ever since. I’ve come to like and admire her very much and am convinced that she has a genius IQ, although it is often, er, untamed. Whatever your preconceptions of her, I guarantee that they’re probably wrong.
I bring his all up because this so-called “Twibel” trial continued on appeal. Ms. Holmes was not going to let this one go. However, we seem to have reached an end. From The Hollywood Reporter:
A California appeals court won’t upset the victory that Courtney Love experienced in January 2014, when she became the first individual in the U.S. to go to trial over an allegedly defamatory tweet.
An opinion handed down Monday affirms a jury’s conclusion that Love didn’t act with actual malice when tweeting about her former attorney, “I was f—ing devestated [sic] when Rhonda J. Holmes esq. of san diego was bought off.”
Love retained Holmes to pursue to a case against those who she believed had defrauded the estate of her late husband Kurt Cobain, but a lawsuit was never filed, and upon disputed circumstances, the rocker and her attorney split.
After Love’s tweet was published, Holmes and her law firm filed a defamation lawsuit, and because this case dealt with public figures, a jury needed to be convinced that Love knew her post was false or had reckless disregard for the truth. A jury concluded that the post was indeed false, but also that Holmes couldn’t prove by clear and convincing evidence that Love had doubts about the truth of her statement.
The full story along with the entire opinion can he found here.
Good. That means I’m finally done with this, too. It’s been interesting and freaky experience.