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Libel suit against Arnold dismissed

A judge dismissed a libel lawsuit filed against California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger by a woman who accused him of groping her. She sai...

A judge dismissed a libel lawsuit filed against California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger by a woman who accused him of groping her. She said the campaign falsely labelled her a convicted criminal.

Rhonda Miller, 53, charged that Schwarzenegger and his campaign intentionally defamed her after she held a news conference the day before last year’s recall election and claimed the actor had lifted her shirt and assaulted her on a movie set. It was among a number of similar accusations that roiled the campaign in the days before Austrian-born Schwarzenegger successfully ousted then-Gov Gray Davis.

Hours after her news conference, a Schwarzenegger campaign spokesman sent an e-mail to reporters directing them to a court web site to search for records of a Rhonda Miller whose history included prostitution, drug crimes and disorderly conduct. She turned out to be a different Rhonda Miller.

Miller, a stuntwoman, has no arrests or convictions for such crimes, her attorneys said.

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On Friday, Superior Court Judge Robert L. Hess ruled that because Miller held a news conference to broadcast her allegations against Schwarzenegger, she was a limited public figure.

As a result, her attorneys needed to furnish ‘‘clear and convincing evidence’’ that Schwarzenegger knew Miller had no criminal history when the campaign sent the e-mail. That higher standard of proof wasn’t met, the judge ruled. Schwarzenegger denied even knowing the e-mail was written. —(PTI)

First published on: 05-07-2004 at 12:44:13 am
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