Katie Couric files for dismissal of gun group’s defamation lawsuit
Katie Couric is fighting back against a gun group’s claim that she defamed them, saying their lawsuit is nothing more than a cheap shot.
The TV personality’s legal team called for a dismissal on Tuesday of the $13 million lawsuit filed by The Virginia Citizens Defense League against Couric, the documentary “Under the Gun,” director Stephanie Soechtig, Epix, and others who worked on the film.
The eight-second scene in question shows Couric interviewing members of the VCDL and asking: “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?”
The film shows members of the group rendered silent by Couric’s question. However, in the unedited version, one person responds that if you’re not in jail, you should have the right to buy guns.
Couric and Atlas Films motion to dismiss states: “No reasonable viewer could interpret the film that way, because just before the exchange in question, the film explicitly depicted them explaining why they oppose background checks. Plaintiffs further assert that the film implies they are unfit to engage in business activities such as selling guns. Those alleged implications are equally strained. At worst, the film might be construed to imply that some members of the interview group had trouble coming up with an answer to the much narrower question about how, if there are no background checks, felons and terrorists can be prevented from buying guns. Defendants have never disputed that editorial choice may fairly be subject to criticism and debate, and indeed it has been. But whatever one thinks about the propriety of the edit, it simply does not rise to the level of defamation.”
The court filing follows Couric’s earlier admission that she regretted the clip edit.
“I take responsibility for a decision that misrepresented an exchange I had with members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL),” Couric wrote earlier this year. “My question to the VCDL regarding the ability of convicted felons and those on the terror watch list to legally obtain a gun, was followed by an extended pause, making the participants appear to be speechless…. I regret that those eight seconds were misleading and that I did not raise my initial concerns more vigorously.”
A Virginia federal judge will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to continue with the lawsuit.