PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine activist being sued for defamation over his claims that a Haiti orphanage founder is a serial pedophile contends the lawsuit violates a state law protecting against lawsuits that aim to chill First Amendment rights.
Lawyers for Paul Kendrick have asked a state judge to dismiss the defamation lawsuit. They say Kendrick's "shocking" statements aimed at generating attention are protected speech.
The defamation allegations have been going on for years. Lawyers for orphanage founder Michael Geilenfeld and a U.S. charity, Hearts With Haiti, first sued Kendrick in 2013.
A federal jury previously awarded $14.5 million to Geilenfeld and Hearts with Haiti. But the damage award was overturned after a U.S. appeals court found that the original lawsuit lacked jurisdiction in federal court.