ABC News' '20/20' Faces Libel Lawsuit for OC Internet-Dating Story

[Moxley Confidential] Orange County judge refuses network's demand to kill libel lawsuit against the ABC program

Perhaps the reason other alleged victims weren't included on the show was because, according to evidence reviewed by the Weekly, at least two of the women described Williams as a womanizer, not a crook. One of those women, Laguna Niguel's Laura Knighten [1], admitted that while he lied to her about his marital status and it angered her, she views him as a "complete gentleman" in every other way.

In 2009, Knighten became friends with Cahill, who makes an income by using her dating blues to get other Internet-dating women to pay her for detective-type services at iCheckmates.com. Knighten doesn't hold a favorable opinion.

"It became increasingly clear to me that not only was [Cahill] obsessed with David in an unhealthy way, but she was [also] not being truthful about what David had done," Knighten declared in a sworn affidavit. "Kelley frequently asked me and some other women she knew to post negative messages about David online."

ABC News gave Kelley Cahill a national forum to attack her ex-lover
ABC
ABC News gave Kelley Cahill a national forum to attack her ex-lover
Lawyers for Chris Cuomo, who left ABC in January, say his story was not libelous
ABC
Lawyers for Chris Cuomo, who left ABC in January, say his story was not libelous

Details

The 20/20 report disappointed her. "I watched the program and was shocked by how David was represented," Knighten stated in a court filing. "It was inaccurately and unfairly biased against David."

Lawyers for ABC and Cahill (who did not respond to requests for comment) attempted to kill Williams' libel lawsuit by shifting the case to a more legally favorable setting in Colorado, absurdly insisting Williams became a public figure when he answered inquiries from reporters calling about Cahill's allegations and arguing that the woman's terrible descriptions of him were constitutionally protected "opinion" speech. They also asserted the public knows it should be leery of the emotional rants of an "ex-lover."

This month, Franz E. Miller—a brainy, polite Orange County judge—refused to dismiss the matter. He overruled all 40 defense objections to evidence presented by Rufus-Isaacs and declared that, at least for these early stages in the case, Williams is a private figure with an argument that his reputation was unfairly soiled.

"[Williams] has met his burden of demonstrating [the implications of the 20/20 show] were false," ruled the judge, who wants a future jury to have the last word on who was the victim and if the network negligently propelled an all-too-common, nasty romantic breakup into a national crime story.

[1] Ms. Knighten's name was misspelled. Corrected March 15, 2013.

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