Judge dismisses defamation lawsuit filed by fallen Marine’s family against Alec Baldwin
A Wyoming judge on Wednesday dismissed a $25 million defamation lawsuit against Alec Baldwin who alleges loved ones of a slain Marine were abused over a social media post, but an attorney has said it would be filed elsewhere.
The federal judge did not rule on the merits of the lawsuit brought by members of the family of the late Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, but said Wyoming lacked jurisdiction.
The lawsuit alleges that Baldwin falsely linked McCollum’s sister, Roice McCollum, to the Jan. 6 riot at the United States Capitol.
Rylee McCollum, from Wyoming, was one of 13 service members killed in the August 2021 attack at Kabul airport in Afghanistan. After his death, Baldwin donated $5,000 to McCollum’s wife, according to the lawsuit.
In January, Roice McCollum posted an Instagram photo of protesters at the Washington Monument on January 6, 2021. She did not participate in the riot or enter the Capitol, according to the suit, and she was not charged with ‘no crime. The suit also indicates that she was outside the Capitol trapped because the area had been locked down.
“She was never detained, arrested, charged or charged with any crime,” according to the lawsuit. There is no record of anyone named Roice McCollum being arrested in connection with the riot.
However, the lawsuit alleges that Baldwin sent McCollum a private message calling her a “January 6 rioter” and reposted the photo to her Instagram. In the post, he also discussed the donation and his feelings about Jan. 6, according to the suit.
The lawsuit says Roice McCollum received “hundreds and hundreds” of hate messages, and that his sister and Rylee McCollum’s widow also received hate messages. A message quoted in the suit reads “your brother got what he deserved”.
Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, called the Wyoming layoff a victory.
“This is an important step towards the full dismissal of the lawsuit, which is intended to punish Mr. Baldwin for expressing his political opinion,” Nikas said in a statement.
The lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, meaning it can be refiled. And it will be, the McCollums’ attorney said, just in a different state like New York or California.
“We will file a new claim in the jurisdiction where he can be prosecuted,” said the lawyer, Dennis Postiglione.
“This is by no means the end of the story,” he added.
CORRECTION (May 5, 2022, 4:15 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article distorted a photo at issue in the defamation lawsuit against Alec Baldwin. The photo is of a crowd of Jan. 6 protesters, according to the lawsuit, not a photo of the woman whose family sued.