California court allowed atheist to sue chaplain for libel

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On October 24, 2010, the California First District Court of Appeal ruled that prominent atheist Michael Newdow was allowed to proceed with a libel lawsuit against Reverend Austin Miles. Newdow, best-known for bringing numerous lawsuits to remove references to God from US currency, the Pledge of Allegiance and the presidential oath of office, sued Miles for libel after Miles accused Newdow of perjury. Miles wrote on his website in June 2002 that Newdow had lied during testimony that Newdow gave regarding the emotional ills that his daughter suffered from being made to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school. The California appeals court rejected Miles's claims that his comments were a matter of free speech, unanimously ruling that an accusation of a crime such as perjury is libel per se. A California state trial court dismissed the defamation lawsuit against Miles in November 2008.


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