Breaking: Former Navy Chaplain Sues Michael Weinstein

Update: Also at the Stars and Stripes.

Michael Weinstein, the self-described “litigator and agitator” who has managed to have every one of his 5 lawsuits dismissed in the past few years, now finds himself on the receiving end of legal action:

[A former Navy chaplain has filed a] defamation lawsuit against the militant anti-Christian activist Mikey Weinstein, who got served yesterday. Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, PhD, just filed the new legal complaint in New Mexico State Court, citing multiple counts of defamation and malicious abuse of the legal process by Weinstein and his openly anti-Christian organization the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Inc.

Klingenschmitt had previously been sued by Weinstein and his wife; the suit was dismissed earlier this year.  Klingenschmitt is suing Weinstein and his wife in their personal capacity, as well as the MRFF itself.

Klingenschmitt previously failed in his bid to get the Texas judge to sanction Weinstein for the “frivolous” court action against him.  He repeats the claim in this suit that Weinstein’s litigation was “malicious or vexatious.”

Notably, the primary focus of the suit (PDF) appears to be Weinstein’s public accusation that an “imprecatory prayer” by Klingenschmitt was ultimately responsible for threats and vandalism directed toward Weinstein — even though those events occurred prior to Klingenschmitt’s public prayer.

Thus, the strength of Klingenschmitt’s case is his assertion Weinstein was knowingly stating false facts (not opinions, which would not qualify as defamation).  For his part, Klingenschmitt will have to overcome accusations he is a “public figure,” which raises the bar for actionable defamation (as Weinstein himself found out the hard way).

Klingenschmitt also cites Chris Rodda’s comment about dropping a “bomb” on the chaplain, though in context most reasonable would conclude that was a literary device.

Weinstein is a man of many words and a short temper — so more will surely follow.

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