Statement on Lawsuit Against Hassan Daieoleslam
The court ruling yesterday in NIAC's lawsuit against Seyyed Hassan Daieoleslam granted NIAC victory on its central demand, while falling short on other objectives.
The court ruling
yesterday in NIAC’s lawsuit against Seyyed Hassan Daieoleslam granted NIAC
victory on its central demand, while falling short on other objectives.
NIAC brought the lawsuit against
Daieoleslam in 2008 in response to his slander and defamation against the
organization and its co-founder, Trita Parsi. Our objective with the lawsuit
First, to challenge Daieoleslam’s false
accusations that NIAC lobbied for the Iranian government in court and force the
defendant to prove his case or concede.
On this crucial issue, NIAC prevailed.
Once in front of the court, Daieoleslam had the opportunity to make his case
for the truth. Instead, he changed his tune and did not seek to argue that his
accusations were correct and truthful. Instead he essentially abandoned the
truth and instead argued that NIAC could not prove that he knew what he was saying was false, i,e malicious. By that, he conceded this very essential
point and is on notice that what he is saying is false and therefore would be
acting with malice if he continues to make the same false, baseless and
The defendant’s shift is understandable
mindful of the fact that after reviewing thousands of NIAC emails and
documents, he could not point to a single shred of evidence indicating that
NIAC served as a lobby for the repressive government in Iran.
The judge points to this as well in his
ruling, writing that “Nothing in this opinion should be construed as a finding
that defendant’s articles were true. Defendant did not move for summary
judgment on that ground.”
The second objective with the lawsuit
was to change the nature of the political culture in the Iranian-American
community, away from the slander, defamation and character assassination
campaigns favored by some, and towards a more open and truthful discourse. Our
hope was that by challenging the maliciousness and defamation, the culture
would shift in a democratic direction.
On this point, our efforts fell short.
The standard was for us to prove that Daieoleslam acted with malice, that is,
not just that he was not speaking the truth, but that he knew he wasn’t
speaking the truth.
While we believe the evidence clearly
showed that Daieoleslam knew he was lying, based on his systematic disregard
for truth, neglect of readily available information that contradicted his
conspiracy theories, declaration that he aimed to “destroy NIAC” in order to
“bring down Obama,” as well as his support for the Mujahedin-e Khalq terrorist
organization, the Judge felt this didn’t meet his standard and denied us the
opportunity to take Daieoleslam in front of a jury and help democratize the
political culture in the Iranian-American community.
While we regret that such a milestone
could not be achieved for the Iranian-American community, we are content that in
the court of law he could not and did not defend his false accusations.
In regards to cost-sharing of the
expense of the discovery, we disagree with the court’s ruling and retain the
option to challenge and appeal the decision.
These past four years have been
challenging and burdensome. NIAC is a small organization, with a small budget
and a small legal team. Our only card was that we knew – and we proved – that
truth was on our side. Daieoleslam, on the other hand, had the support of a
broad network of well-funded pro-war figures. He was represented by Sidley
Austin, one of the largest law firms in the world and the main counsel on his
legal team was President George W. Bush’s lawyer in the White House.
But precisely because he didn’t have
truth on his side, Daieoleslam tried to shift the focus of the court away from
the central charge and instead overwhelm NIAC with legal expenses by filing an
endless stream of motions.
The order of the judge also puts
Daieoleslam on notice. While he claimed not to have known that what he was
writing was false, he no longer can hide behind that excuse going forward. He
is on notice and will pay the consequences of further defamation.
In the past ten years, NIAC has helped
transform the Iranian-American community from being politically apathetic and
vulnerable to becoming dynamic and in ownership of their own destiny. We have
helped the community stand up against the voices of war, stand up for their
rights in face of discrimination, and stand up for the values that make America
strong. NIAC will continue to serve the interest of the Iranian-American
community, particularly at this moment when the risk of war is increasing,
repression in Iran is intensifying and the suffering of the Iranian people is
reaching intolerable levels.