Last August, Snake River Alliance Executive Director Andrea Shipley went on Channel 7 and called one of my clients (and myself by extension) “scammers.” My client, Alternate Energy Holdings Inc., which is seeking to build a nuclear power plant in Elmore County, sued for defamation.

The SRA moved to dismiss the suit and we didn’t contest the dismissal, because the SRA admitted in court documents their assertions were “opinions,” not “facts,” and therefore protected by the First Amendment.

In the Channel 7 story, Shipley offered her “scammers” remarks in the context of our finances and investors. But in court documents, she says her comments were really meant to say we were misleading the public about the broad issue of nuclear power, donchya know! As a PR professional, I have to say that’s a pretty good spin, especially if it gets you out of lawsuit.

In court documents, the SRA makes it really clear they didn’t know what they were talking about: “…her statements do not imply private first-hand knowledge which would assist viewers in making an independent judgment of the plaintiff … the critiques … generally represent the highly subjective opinions of the [speaker] rather than assertions of verifiable, objective fact.”

Also, it is odd SRA attorney David Knotts said AEHI was ordered to pay court costs. As far as I know, there is nothing in the court documents to show that.

In any case, I’m pleased to hear Shipley clarify she had no factual basis for calling me a criminal. I’ve never been arrested or gotten anything more than a traffic ticket, so I bask in the Snake River Alliance’s stamp of approval.

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