Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Saudi Billionaire Sues 'Funding Evil' Author
Two years ago our guest,Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, told us how she was ordered to destroy all copies of her book, "Funding Evil - How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It," after a Saudi billionaire Sheikh sued her for including him in the book.
She forwarded the following to me, about appearing in a short-form documentary film, "The Libel Tourist," which documents the true story of how she, an American-Israeli author, was ordered to destroy all copies of her book in a country where it had never been published -- England -- after the notoriously litigious Saudi billionaire sued her in a British court. Ehrenfeld's book accuses the Saudi billionaire of funding of terrorism.
We aired segments from the film and an earlier interview with her on Monday, in light of Saudi Arabia calling the shots at Tuesday's 'peace' conference in Annapolis this week.
The new film tells of how Dr. Ehrenfeld is fighting back, countersuing the billionaire, Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz, in the New York courts to defend her and our First Amendment rights.
The Sheikh filed more than thirty-six lawsuits in London against various media and publishers, many of them American. Mahfouz couldn't sue Ehrenfeld in the United States, where libel cases hinge upon the truth of the allegations. Instead, he arranged for twenty-three copies of her book to be bought online and shipped to the U.K., where he used the plaintiff-friendly libel laws to sue her.
Ehrenfeld, an American-Israeli who holds a Ph.D. in criminology, lives and works in New York. She refused to acknowledge the authority of a British court over her freedom of speech. When she lost the case by default, she was ordered to pay a substantial fine, as well as Mahfouz's legal fees. She was also ordered to destroy all copies of her books in the U.K. and to publish an apology to bin Mahfouz in major newspapers.
She refused. Instead, she countersued bin Mahfouz in a U.S. federal court. She hopes to set a precedent that would prohibit any foreign court from having authority over an American author. The Federal Court of Appeals agreed to hear her case, and on November 15th, 2007, the New York State Court of Appeals heard arguments on jurisdiction.
Families of 9/11 victims are also sueing the Shiekh, waiting to see how Ehrenfeld does in court.
Hear the show online now (See 11/26/07)