January 24, 2014


After a seven-day trial and a few hours of deliberation, the jury ruled in favor of Courtney Love in the first defamation trial in the U.S. involving a tweet.

According to SPIN Magazine, the jury was not convinced Love published the tweet with a reckless disregard for the truth:

While the 12-person jury agreed that Love’s public statement was false and likely injurious to [Rhonda] Holmes, they were not convinced that Love didn’t believe it to be true. They were asked: “Did Rhonda Holmes prove by clear and convincing evidence that Courtney Love knew it was false or doubted the truth of it?” And the answer was, “No.” And regarding a statement she made to reporter Alan Cross about an unnamed attorney (Holmes), the jury decided that Cross had no reason to know Holmes was indeed the subject thereof.

In the 2010 tweet, Love posted a tweet insinuating Holmes, her former attorney, had taken a bribe. Love later stated she intended her post to be a private message.

Love was not present when the judgment was issued; many did not expect a verdict until next week.

Related: How Courtney Love and U.S.’s first Twitter libel trial could impact journalists

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Since joining The Poynter Institute in 2007, Ellyn Angelotti has helped Poynter explore the journalistic values and the legal challenges related to new technologies, especially…
Ellyn Angelotti

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