ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL – Defamation suit closer to trial

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  • A defamation lawsuit filed by a conservative Christian minister and former Navy chaplain against Michael “Mikey” Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation he founded got a step closer to trial following a hearing Wednesday in Albuquerque.District Judge Denise Barela Shepherd dismissed one claim against Weinstein, malicious abuse of process, in the lawsuit filed by Gordon Klingenschmitt of Colorado.But she denied Weinstein’s motion to dismiss the defamation claim.Both sides counted it as a victory.“Half their case was dismissed today,” said attorney David Roman of Albuquerque, who was one of three lawyers representing Weinstein and the foundation at the hearing. Weinstein, his wife and the foundation have filed a counterclaim against Klingenschmitt.

    He said once discovery is completed, Weinstein could again seek a court ruling to end the litigation.

  • Weinstein, an attorney, Air Force Academy graduate and former White House counsel who is Jewish, earned the enmity of the religious right, and galvanized it, with his crusade to end alleged undue influence by Christian fundamentalists in the military. In 2009, Weinstein sued Klingenschmitt, who runs the Pray in Jesus Name Project, after he posted “curse prayers” that Weinstein alleged were actually coded messages to Klingenschmitt’s followers intended to incite violence against the Weinsteins.

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