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Eye On Boise

Idaho judge dismisses VanderSloot’s defamation suit, but criticizes Mother Jones magazine’s reporting

An Idaho judge has ruled that Mother Jones Magazine did not defame one of Idaho's wealthiest people in an article that said businessman Frank VanderSloot outed a local reporter as gay. The AP reports that 4th District Judge Darla Williamson dismissed VanderSloot's lawsuit against the magazine on Tuesday.

In her ruling, Williamson wrote that some of the statements VanderSloot took issue with were "substantially true" and others — including a description of VanderSloot as "gay-bashing" — were open to such a wide spectrum of interpretation that they could not be proven true or false. She also said the statements were opinions and so can't be held as defamatory. Still, the judge said she was troubled by Mother Jones' reporting style, which she said was biased.

VanderSloot said he felt “vindicated” by the ruling; he’s created a $1 million fund to defend conservatives against media outlets that he considers to be liberal. You can read a full report here from AP reporter Kimberlee Kruesi.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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