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6 Plaintiff, )
7 vs. ) CASE NO. BC613703
9 Defendant. )
13 FRIDAY, JULY 14 2017
16 P.O. Box 2760
New York, New York 10163
20 865 South Figueroa Street, Suite 2400
Los Angeles, California 90017
25 213.633.6821
26 Reported by:
Maria Beesley, CSR #9132
JOB NO. 138518

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3 (NONE)
7 (NONE)

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3 AL
7 TIME: 9:00 A.M.
8 -o0o-
9 THE COURT: This is the matter of Frederick Theodore
10 Rall III versus Tribune Company.
11 MR. RALL: Good morning, Your Honor. Ted Rall in
12 pro per.
13 MS. SAGER: Good morning, Your Honor. Kelli Sager
14 for the defendants.
15 THE COURT: Okay, counsel, I believe that the clerk
16 indicated to the court that, Mr. Rall, you have substituted
17 out the Shegarian firm and you are representing yourself.
18 MR. RALL: That's correct, Your Honor.
19 MS. SAGER: We were handed a substitution when we
20 came in this morning, Your Honor. I would note that Mr. Rall
21 has put a P.O. box down for his address. So if he is going to
22 represent himself pro per, we need an address so we can
23 actually serve him with things as we do any other counsel.
24 THE COURT: Sir, that's the situation. They're
25 certainly entitled to have a proper address to serve you.
26 MR. RALL: I'll provide that, Your Honor.
27 THE COURT: Are you prepared to argue your motion?
28 MR. RALL: I am, Your Honor.

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1 THE COURT: Some of the issues that are raised

2 here -- and I'll just mention a few of them and then I'll hear
3 argument -- I believe that the plaintiff has raised the issue
4 of whether he was an employee or an independent contractor;
5 the issue of whether the cartoons were in the public interest
6 and the public forum. They were signed by the plaintiff. The
7 issue of the Fair Report privilege and the First Amendment
8 privilege are an issue. The evidence the plaintiff would
9 prevail on his lawsuit.
10 Again, the big issues are public interest and public
11 forum. Apparently, the plaintiff was paid per cartoon and per
12 blog, and that goes to the argument of employee or independent
13 contractor. Apparently, the issues in this case had to do
14 with the reporting of policing and jaywalking and whether
15 that's an issue of public interest.
16 Another issue here deals with editorial opinion and
17 the right to publish or not publish on editorial opinion.
18 Apparently, the records that are in issue here with the LAPD
19 was supplied to the Times by the LAPD. And then there is the
20 issue of fair reports and official proceedings and records.
21 So let me get my notepad out and I'll hear from the
22 plaintiff.
23 MR. RALL: Thank you, Your Honor. First of all,
24 thank you for hearing me today, but I would like to state for
25 the record that I am representing myself in pro per under
26 protest.
27 We were here, as you know, yesterday morning
28 requesting substitution of attorney and the continuance for my

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1 new counsel who is willing to take the case, Roger Lowenstein.

2 But he would have required a few weeks in order to come back
3 from vacation and familiarize himself with the case. And the
4 court did not grant that. So I am forced, in the words of
5 President Lincoln, to represent myself and make myself into
6 a -- since I'm representing myself as a client, I'm forced by
7 the court to act the fool.
8 THE COURT: If you are going to go into the motion
9 itself, I'm going to let other counsel put their opposition on
10 the record if it is opposed, and so that there is a record for
11 appellate purposes.
12 Counsel.
13 MS. SAGER: Well, Your Honor, we have had these same
14 requests for continuance multiple times before the court. We
15 had a very lengthy argument yesterday. Mr. Rall was not
16 present, but his counsel of record as of yesterday was present
17 as was special counsel Jan Goodman. And after hearing
18 argument for the better part of an hour, the court ruled on
19 the ex parte application for continuance and rejected it.
20 So it's not before the court today. We were not
21 given notice of any additional ex parte request for
22 continuance. And it's not appropriate for argument before the
23 court today. That matter has been decided and ruled upon.
24 And Mr. Rall has his remedies if there are any remedies for
25 that.
26 He chose to substitute in pro per this morning. He
27 didn't have to do that, but he chose to do that. And we were
28 only given notice when we showed up today.

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1 I understand Ms. Goodman is also present. She had

2 said she was making some kind of special appearance today, but
3 apparently after discussing the matter out in the hallway she
4 has changed her mind.
5 So it's not that Mr. Rall has no opportunity to have
6 counsel here. He has two lawyers here. But he's chosen
7 instead to represent himself. And with that, Your Honor, we
8 would ask to go forward on the merits with just what is before
9 the court today.
10 THE COURT: Thank you.
11 Counsel, or sir.
12 MR. RALL: Thank you, Your Honor. If I may, can I
13 respond to that?
14 THE COURT: Please.
15 MR. RALL: So I would just like to, for the record,
16 state that I'm going to be prejudiced by the inability to be
17 represented by competent counsel. Opposition counsel referred
18 to Jan Goodman who, while she is an excellent attorney, is not
19 familiar and specialized with this matter and is not able to
20 defend me, in her own opinion, on this matter or to make these
21 oral arguments before the court. So therefore, that's
22 irrelevant.
23 And even though there is obviously a need to move
24 forward on an anti-SLAPP motion before the court in a timely
25 manner, which I respect and understand, the fact is that most
26 of the delays in this case heretofore under Judge Sanchez
27 Jordan's period presiding over this case were occasioned by
28 the defense with a number of motions that had the effect of

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1 unnecessarily delaying the court for a matter of months at a

2 time including, for example, filing a motion after I was
3 required to post a $75,000 cash bond to have my case dismissed
4 on the grounds that the forum did not include the names of all
5 the defendants, and this being simply because the forum did
6 not have enough space for all the defendants. That motion was
7 denied by the court.
8 MS. SAGER: Your Honor, we have gone through all of
9 this at some length yesterday. There is really no reason to
10 take up court's time or counsel's time rearguing everything
11 that was argued yesterday. There's a record of that. Mr.
12 Rall has the record. We had a court reporter here yesterday
13 at my client's expense.
14 And there is really no appropriate way for Mr. Rall
15 to simply rehash issues that the court has already gone
16 through, not just yesterday but on two prior appearances,
17 including false accusations about who is to blame about
18 continuances which, again, as I said yesterday, is simply not
19 true and not supported by the record.
20 But we have been through all of that and I'd ask the
21 court to move on to the merits if Mr. Rall wishes to be heard
22 on the merits.
23 THE COURT: Apparently, Mr. Shegarian's office has
24 subbed out effective today. However, his office has filed
25 responses in opposition to all of the motions that were set in
26 this matter by the defendant.
27 So do you want to argue the issue, sir?
28 MR. RALL: Thank you, Your Honor.

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1 Since the beginning of this case, the defense has

2 tried to make this a complicated case about technicalities.
3 In fact, it's actually a very simple case. I was cartoonist
4 at the L.A. Times for six years during which there was never
5 any complaint whatsoever about my job performance. In 2015, I
6 was asked to write a blog that accompanied a cartoon that was
7 about a jaywalking crackdown at the time being initiated by
8 the LAPD. That cartoon was submitted to my writers at the
9 L.A. Times who edited it, approved it, and posted it on the
10 online edition of
11 That blog, by the way, just parenthetically, has
12 only led to one person being disciplined or fired, and that is
13 me. Normally, in American journalism if there is a case of
14 impropriety on the part of something that's published, there
15 is some sort of retribution that comes down on the editors as
16 well. But that did not happen in my case.
17 After the blog and the cartoon appeared in May of
18 2015, LAPD chief Charlie Beck gave the publisher at the time
19 Austin Beutner an audio recording that he said showed that I
20 lied in my piece in which I tangentially mention as part of a
21 much broader piece about public policy involving jaywalking
22 that I had been arrested in 2001, roughed up by an LAPD police
23 officer in the West Hollywood section of Los Angeles and
24 handcuffed and mistreated to the extent that an angry group of
25 people, an angry crowd of people surrounded me and were
26 arguing with the police officer. I also mentioned in my blog
27 that I had filed a complaint with the LAPD at the time and
28 that nothing ever came of it.

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1 In fact, the audio did not show anything of the

2 kind. In fact, the audio was obviously never listened to,
3 because if they had, even if nothing else had happened, they
4 would have been able to, in a quiet room with headphones, they
5 would have been able to hear people arguing with the police
6 officer. They would have heard phrases along the lines of,
7 "Take them off. Take off his handcuffs," that sort of thing.
8 The Times rushed to judgment. They operated extreme
9 recklessly, negligently. They did not investigate the audio.
10 They did not give me any benefit of the doubt whatsoever even
11 though the doubt was 100 percent. In fact, the audio was full
12 of static and traffic noise. It was impossible to hear
13 anything.
14 My 11-year-old son at the time -- sorry, my
15 12-year-old son at the time even said, "Daddy, that recording
16 doesn't prove anything. It doesn't prove what they said, it
17 doesn't prove what you said." And indeed, it didn't.
18 With less than 24 hours notice between the time that
19 I spoke with my editor at the time, editorial page editor
20 Nicholas Goldberg, a man with whom I rarely had worked or
21 conversed up until that point, the Times evidentiary made the
22 decision to fire me.
23 They did not send the audio to be analyzed anywhere.
24 In fact, when I spoke to one of the defendants in this case,
25 reporter Paul Pringle, on the phone, he was the guy who first
26 contacted me about it, he stated that he knew that the LAPD
27 audio was authentic because he asked the LAPD.
28 Now, Your Honor, you mentioned that one of the

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1 issues in this case is about LAPD records. And in your

2 decision about the case against the individuals from June 21,
3 the anti-SLAPP motion, you stated that there was no
4 disagreement about whether these are LAPD records. In fact,
5 if privilege and fair report privilege under the anti-SLAPP
6 statute are at issue, there is substantial dispute.
7 I dispute that these records were officially
8 released by the LAPD. There is a declaration by the
9 investigative reporter Greg Palast in that giant pile of paper
10 next to you in which he says that he contacted the public
11 information office of the LAPD and in no uncertain terms they
12 denied ever having released the documents and the audio. And
13 in fact, that they're still in the evidence room over at the
14 LAPD.
15 So what we have here is a case of conflation; a
16 cases of many lies of omission, some lies of commission. But
17 one of the big lies of omission is that the L.A. Times is
18 trying to pretend that Chief Beck is the LAPD. And that is no
19 more true than President Trump is the United States
20 government.
21 The official records have never been released.
22 These records, they differ from the records that were released
23 officially to me under a request under the Public Records Act.
24 And I would just like to remind you, before I go on,
25 that under the anti-SLAPP law, the court is supposed to assume
26 that everything I allege could be proven at trial and would be
27 shown to be true with the exception of evidence presented by
28 defense that disproves that evidence. And if you review all

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1 that paperwork, you are going to see that the defense has
2 never been able to disprove or undermine any of the assertions
3 that I have made in the original complaint.
4 I was first contacted on June 23, 2015 by Paul
5 Pringle the reporter and Nicholas Goldberg the editorial page
6 editor about this matter. They decided on June 24 to fire me
7 and on June 28 they published a -- sorry, I'm just trying to
8 make sure I get my timeline correct here. Those should be
9 July. July 23 is when I first got contacted, July 24 is when
10 they decided to fire me and July 28 is when they published an
11 editor's note in which the Times claim there were
12 discrepancies between what I stated in my May 11, 2015, blog
13 and what they published in -- and what the LAPD audio showed.
14 In fact, there are no discrepancies whatsoever and for a
15 simple reason: Because I was telling the truth.
16 Just to go through the broad strokes of this case, I
17 had their audio cleaned up. I sent it to a company in
18 Hollywood. They cleaned up the audio, and what it revealed
19 was that my story was true and that the LAPD's story was
20 false. I used their evidence. They presented something that
21 they said showed that I had lied. But what I was able to show
22 was that their evidence actually showed that I told the truth.
23 But at that point the Times went silent. They
24 refused to discuss my findings and they didn't change course.
25 The only reason that we're here, however, is because three
26 weeks later, after three weeks of controversy, the Times
27 decided to double down. And what I mean by that is that there
28 was massive social media controversy. This became a topic of

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1 discussion in publications that include, but are not limited

2 to, the International Business Times, the Guardian of the UK
3 the New York Observer, and so on. KFI radio here in Los
4 Angeles.
5 You'll note that we're talking about outlets from
6 across the political spectrum. The need of the Nieman
7 Foundation which is arguably the most prestigious, if not the
8 most prestigious, journalism organization to the United States
9 tweeted that the L.A. Times had messed up. It was widely
10 viewed throughout the world of journalism that the L.A. Times
11 did something wrong in my case. That they didn't investigate,
12 that they didn't listen to the audio, and they just didn't
13 know they made the wrong decision.
14 There must have been considerable pressure on the
15 Times during that period. They refused to talk to
16 journalists. They received many letters to the editor that
17 they refused to publish. There were comments on the L.A.
18 Times website by paid subscribers, very polite comments that
19 were deleted by L.A. Times management, censored.
20 They were under so much pressure, because what they
21 did was so egregious, so outside the norm, so chilling to free
22 speech and the First Amendment that numerous major free speech
23 groups are now taking the unusual step of, when we go to the
24 court of appeals, supplying amicus briefs for me and against
25 the fourth largest newspaper in the United States, the Los
26 Angeles Times.
27 I would like to also state that under the anti-SLAPP
28 statute, the court should view every action that has even

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1 minimal -- if any of my causes of action has even minimal

2 merit, the anti-SLAPP motion must fail. If there is any
3 evidence whatsoever that they may have defamed me, that they
4 may have inflicted emotional distress upon me, that they may
5 have wrongfully terminated me, the court should, under the
6 law, rule against the Times' special motion to dismiss.
7 And in terms of what -- this is my first time doing
8 this so I beg your indulgence, Your Honor. Hopefully it's the
9 last.
10 Also, for the purpose of this argument I think the
11 law is pretty clear that the court must accept my contention
12 that I'm not a public figure or even a limited public figure.
13 But even if the court rules against me that I am a public
14 figure or a limited public figure, this is a doctrine of law
15 that is based on the 1964 case New York Times v. Sullivan.
16 The Times' actions still remain completely indefensible.
17 Under New York Times versus Sullivan, the doctrine
18 of actual malice requires that a public figure can only sue
19 for defamation in cases where the publication knows that what
20 was published was untrue at the time, or that they had
21 reckless disregard for whether it was true at the time.
22 In this case we have got both. And I would like to
23 walk you through the two articles to explain that, to explain
24 how.
25 THE COURT: Counsel, if you want to sit down.
26 MS. SAGER: I only wanted to interject, Your Honor,
27 that this has nothing told with the arguments in the motion.
28 I appreciate Mr. Rall has people in the audience he wants to

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1 give a speech to, but this was not an argument that's made in
2 the motion. Whether there is actual malice or not actual
3 malice is not one of the issues before the court. It's not
4 something that's been argued in the briefs. It's not been the
5 subject of evidence on either side. And it's not appropriate
6 for Mr. Rall to interject new issues and new arguments and
7 allege facts into the record that have nothing to do with the
8 arguments before the court.
9 And I think it would short-circuit things if Mr.
10 Rall would confine himself to the record which is what he is
11 here supposed to be arguing about.
12 THE COURT: Go ahead and proceed, counsel, but the
13 objection is taken, I made notes on it.
14 MR. RALL: Thank you, Your Honor.
15 So three weeks into this controversy -- and I should
16 just say, as someone who has been working in the world of
17 journalism since I was 15 years ago old where I started at a
18 small town paper in Kettering, Ohio, I still remain completely
19 gobsmacked at the fact that the paper has still not issued a
20 retraction and offered me my job back in light of these
21 events.
22 One of the fundamental aspects of American
23 journalism is that when you make a mistake, you issue a
24 retraction. In this case, there is no question that they made
25 a mistake. Let me move on.
26 The second article by Deirdre Edgar repeats the
27 lies, stretches them out, and claims that they paid -- the
28 defendants claim that they paid two audio experts in order to,

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1 quote/unquote, enhance, i.e., clean up the audio.

2 Now, I would like to point out that that's a tacit
3 admission in the article that they didn't do when they
4 published the editor's note that they were supposed to have
5 done that. They should have investigated fully. If they
6 didn't need to investigate fully -- investigating fully didn't
7 require them to authenticate and evaluate this audio of
8 unknown providence.
9 Let's bear in mind that at the time the readers of
10 the L.A. Times had no idea where this audio came from. The
11 paper falsely said it came from the LAPD when, in fact, it did
12 not come from the LAPD. It came from LAPD police chief
13 Charlie Beck from someone's personal files, who knows who.
14 We're not going to find out unless we go to discovery.
15 But in any event, there is a declaration from Gina
16 Smith who called one of the two audio experts in the article
17 by Deirdre Edgar, Ed Primo. Mr. Primo told Ms. Smith that he
18 never properly enhanced or cleaned up the audio because the
19 Los Angeles Times refused him to pay the fee that he needed in
20 order to do a proper enhancement.
21 The article claims that they paid for a proper
22 enhancement. But you know what, there is no proper
23 enhancement embedded along with the other embedded audio files
24 in the article, in the online edition. Why? Because there is
25 no such file. It's not true.
26 This satisfies the New York Times versus Sullivan
27 standard of stating that --
28 (Interruption in court)

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1 THE COURT: Please, proceed, counsel.

2 MR. RALL: So Mr. Primeau told Ms. Smith the editor
3 that the Times refused to pay the full fee. And the Times
4 claimed that he heard nothing when he said that he actually
5 did. And on his blog that he published he said that he
6 actually did hear some of the things that the company I hired
7 to do the enhancement did.
8 This case is boiled down to, from the very
9 beginning, la la la la, we can't hear you, we can't hear
10 anything on the tape, we can't hear an angry crowd, we can't
11 do that.
12 So even if the court finds that the editor's note is
13 privileged and that it was an honest mistake, that the Times
14 published what they knew at the time, certainly defendant
15 cannot argue the same thing about the article. The article is
16 certainly malicious. By this point they had been provided
17 with substantial evidence that lots of people, if not
18 necessarily the editors at the Los Angeles Times, knew that --
19 they knew that the article -- let me gather my thoughts here.
20 They certainly knew that by that point that there was reason
21 to reconsider what they thought was on the audio and to have
22 it enhanced.
23 By that point there had been other analysts who had
24 taken a look at the audio from various publications and an
25 investigative reporter who heard the same things, many readers
26 heard the same things and they decided to ignore them.
27 It should also be pointed out that the Times did not
28 call me for comment in violation of the ethical guidelines,

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1 ironically written in 2014 by the very author of that same

2 article Deidre Edgar. And I will refer to that, too.
3 What is happening here is the Times is perverting
4 the meaning of the anti-SLAPP law turning it completely on its
5 back. The definition of a SLAPP is a lawsuit that the
6 plaintiff does not intend to win, only to harass and punish
7 free speech. I mean, Your Honor, plaintiff absolutely here
8 will swear under oath that plaintiff intends to win this suit.
9 Plaintiff is flying back and forth from New York on his own
10 dime. Plaintiff is dedicating a lot of effort to this.
11 Plaintiff is not here to harass the defendant or to
12 crush defendant's free speech rights under the First Amendment
13 which I need myself in order to do my job, and I respect as
14 the most important part of the Bill of Rights.
15 This is not a lark for plaintiff in this situation.
16 What is going on here is that the defendant violated my First
17 Amendment rights. They're censoring me in order to punish me
18 as a violation for their de facto business partner the Los
19 Angeles Police Department, a government entity in a
20 relationship that, unfortunately, is not before this court but
21 should be illegal and was undisclosed to readers, again, in
22 contravention of the ethical guidelines published in 2014 by
23 defendant Deirdre Edgar.
24 Moreover, Your Honor, and I hope this is not too
25 much of a novel argument, I can't issue a SLAPP against the
26 Los Angeles Times even if I wanted to. I make five figures.
27 The Los Angeles Times is owned by Tronc, a company worth more
28 than $400 million. I'm here in pro per in front of you

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1 against the senior partner from a major firm here in Los

2 Angeles. There is no way that I can outspend them into
3 harassing them to not exercise their free speech rights. The
4 suggestion that I could is absurd on its face.
5 This is primarily a defamation claim, but the
6 defamation and other claims exist for one sole purpose, which
7 is to set the record straight. Your Honor, I'm a journalist.
8 A journalist who is accused of lying is permanently injured in
9 his or her ability to earn a living.
10 If the Los Angeles Times publishes that I don't wash
11 my hands after I go to the bathroom, there is no liable, per
12 se. But if they say the same thing about a butcher, there is
13 liable per se. They have hurt his or her ability to earn a
14 living.
15 That's what the L.A. Times did to me in an act that
16 is completely unprecedented. I can't find -- and I'm a news
17 junkie, I read many papers every day and I have done lots of
18 research on this case -- I can't find a single example of an
19 American newspaper ever publishing a piece about the firing of
20 a freelancer over a single alleged case of wrongdoing.
21 Certainly, staffers have had such pieces published about them.
22 Certainly, freelancers have had pieces written about them when
23 they were accused of multiple acts of plagiarism, for example.
24 But this has never happened before as far as I know.
25 So I also want to say that when we look at the
26 anti-SLAPP statute, the first prong, it goes to a matter of
27 public interest. Is jaywalking a matter of public interest?
28 Perhaps. But the articles that the Times published about me

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1 are only tangentially about jaywalking. They're really about

2 firing a freelancer for a single offense. Publishing such a
3 piece twice, I guarantee that that's completely unprecedented.
4 In the second prong of the anti-SLAPP statute, the
5 defendant is claiming privileged status for reporting on
6 official public police records. Your Honor, there is no
7 privilege under any act for liability and defamation. The Los
8 Angeles Times surely cannot publish an article that says that
9 you don't prepare for your cases, Your Honor, and then when
10 you are able to prove that you do, they can ignore you.
11 The right to buy ink by the barrel does not buy L.A.
12 Times impunity to publish anything they want. To grant this
13 motion would be to say that defamation and liable are no
14 longer against the law in the state of California.
15 Now, according to the case, the court
16 must judge my case on its merits. If even one claim survives,
17 it survives anti-SLAPP. Even if one of my claims has even
18 minimal merit, my claim survives.
19 The court does not subjectively analyze the claims
20 or the evidence presented by the plaintiff, but assumes that
21 everything alleged is true unless negated by evidence supplied
22 by the defendant which defendant has failed to do.
23 I have alleged that the LAPD official records were
24 never provided to the L.A. Times in contradiction to what the
25 Times published in both the editor's note and in the article.
26 I remind you of the declaration by Mr. Greg Palast, the
27 investigative reporter, that those records are still in the
28 evidence room. That is an important dispute in this case.

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1 The difference between the Public Records Act

2 documents that I received and the Charlie Beck ones remain.
3 And I would show that in court. And I believe that the
4 anti-SLAPP statute requires me to get my day in court in order
5 to show that because if that proved to be true, it would be
6 convincing and I would prevail. I would be more than likely
7 than not to prevail.
8 I'm not going to speculate here about the real
9 source, but according to declaration submitted by the current
10 police chief of Greenbay, Wisconsin, along with the Times'
11 motion, it does not state at all that the records are
12 official, were released under the chain of evidence from the
13 LAPD, or say where they're from. It just merely says they
14 fell from the sky and they handed them over.
15 I would also like to say that it would be an error
16 in order to make any kind of judgment over what kind of
17 evidence the audio would show at trial. At this stage it is
18 not the court's role to make such an assessment. Although,
19 Your Honor, I'm here and I have my equipment and I have CD
20 ROMS of the audio, both the one that I received from Paul
21 Pringle that originated with Charlie Beck. And I can play
22 that for you if you are interested and you would see that
23 there is not much on it.
24 If the Times says that I'm a public person -- and I
25 deny that. Your Honor, I spent much of yesterday online
26 trying to get my supporters to come here today. And as you
27 can see, we don't have an overflow crowd which might go to
28 attest to some extent to the fact that I am not a public

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1 figure, or perhaps even a limited public figure contrary to

2 what has been alleged here. There is no privilege for
3 falsehoods knowingly published not once but twice.
4 Now, I'd like to just, if I may, read from and I
5 would like to introduce an exhibit I will provide to
6 opposition counsel.
7 MS. SAGER: We would object to any new exhibits
8 being provided. The court's has already ordered --
9 MR. RALL: It's a short quote, Your Honor, from a
10 Times editorial.
11 THE COURT: Counsel, I'm not going to mark them for
12 identification or admit them. You can certainly argue that
13 this is new evidence.
14 MR. RALL: Thank you, Your Honor.
15 On August 16, 2015, less than two weeks after the
16 Times fired me or a little bit more than two weeks, the Times
17 published an official editorial, in other words, not an Op Ed
18 piece, an editorial that was approved by the entire official
19 editorial board of the Los Angeles Times.
20 THE COURT: Counsel, this article, who is it from?
21 MR. RALL: It's from the editorial page of the Los
22 Angeles Times. I'll just read three sentences. It's the
23 beginning of the editorial calling for a federal anti-SLAPP
24 law. This is what the Times says anti-SLAPP is for.
25 "It's a sadly familiar site in courthouses around
26 the country. A deep-pocketed corporation" -- that's not me --
27 "developer or government official files a lawsuit whose real
28 purpose is to silence a critic, punish a whistle borrower or

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1 win a commercial dispute." That's not me. "That's why

2 California enacted a law in 1992 to give people a preemptive
3 legal strike against frivolous lawsuits that seek to muzzle
4 them on public issues. This sort of safeguard doesn't exist
5 in almost two other states or in federal law, unfortunately."
6 And it goes to argue for this.
7 That's what the L.A. Times editorial board that
8 fired me says SLAPP is and what anti-SLAPP, the purpose of the
9 anti-SLAPP law is.
10 Your Honor, you know, I don't fit the bill. And
11 these have been introduced already, the editor's note and the
12 Times article. I would like to point out some of the
13 falsehoods at the time of publication.
14 The editor's note published by Nick Goldberg on
15 July 28, 2015, says in a few places, for example, "the Los
16 Angeles Police Department has provided records about the
17 incident."
18 That's not true. Police chief Charlie Beck provided
19 records about the incident. And I think readers would
20 appreciate and notice the difference considering that I have
21 published numerous cartoons over the years making fun of Chief
22 Beck and of the LAPD and of the police in general. I mean,
23 maybe, just maybe, readers would be interested in knowing that
24 there is a conflict of interest there.
25 Furthermore, it goes on, "An audiotape of the
26 encounter recorded by the police officer does not back up
27 Rall's assertions."
28 There is no such audiotape, Your Honor. Defendant

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1 has never produced such an audiotape. What they have is an

2 audio recording. It's a copy of something, we don't know
3 what. Only discovery would reveal that. And again I remind
4 you that under the anti-SLAPP statute the court should
5 consider my allegations to be true unless the defense can
6 counter it in some way.
7 Also, it says that it does not back up Rall's
8 assertions. However, there is a lie of omission. It doesn't
9 back up the LAPD's assertion either. In fact, that's not even
10 true that it doesn't back up Rall's assertions. In fact, the
11 audio, the unenhanced audio, the audio that Beck provided to
12 Austin Beutner does back up my assertions. It is possible to
13 hear angry people shouting at the police officer. There is
14 evidence that I was handcuffed and mistreated to the point
15 where angry people came.
16 It also says there is no evidence on the recording
17 of a crowd of shouting onlookers. This is false, Your Honor.
18 I'll play it for you. You will hear them.
19 "In Rall's initial complaint to the LAPD," it says,
20 "he describes the incident without mentioning any physical
21 violence or handcuffing."
22 I never published my initial complaints to the LAPD
23 in the L.A. Times, so it's not an issue. It goes on, this is
24 the Goldberg article. "The tape depicts a polite
25 interaction."
26 There is no tape. There is a digital WAV file.
27 There is no tape. If there was a tape, because the tape is
28 the microcassette with which this recording was apparently

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1 originally made in 2001 by Officer Will Durr, that tape is

2 still at the evidence room in LAPD as it should be.
3 It says, "Rall wrote in his blog that the LAPD
4 dismisses complaint without ever contacting him."
5 This is nonsense. They didn't ever contact me.
6 There is no evidence whatsoever on the part of the documents
7 submitted by the defense that indicate that they ever talked
8 to me.
9 "Department records show that Internal Affairs
10 investigators made repeated attempts to contact Rall."
11 Those records have mistakes in them of date. Those
12 records have a recording of them calling someone who is not me
13 on the answer machine. It's someone with a foreign accent, I
14 don't know from where, but it's not me.
15 "Asked to explain these inconsistencies." There is
16 no inconsistencies, Your Honor. Because I told the truth.
17 Again, in the Goldberg piece, "After listening to
18 the tape," there is no tape. They just keep saying tape,
19 tape, tape.
20 "The defendants have argued repeatedly that there is
21 no difference between a copy of an audiotape and the tape
22 itself."
23 That's completely untrue. Copies of tapes are
24 non-admissible in criminal trials according to audio experts
25 around the country including the FBI. The only way you can
26 authenticate an audio recording is to have the original and
27 the device with which was made at the time. Then an audio
28 analyst can authenticate and prove that it exists. These are

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1 not steps that the L.A. Times took whatever.

2 It says, "The recording and other evidence provided
3 by LAPD raise serious questions about the accuracy of Rall's
4 broad post." It raises no questions. There are no questions.
5 It says, "Rall's future work will not appear in the
6 Times."
7 Now, I'm going to get to this very shortly, but
8 listening to these claims and reading the editor's note and
9 the article, Your Honor, I would like you to note that the
10 Times claims under anti-SLAPP that they're privileged because
11 they're reporting on official records. Your Honor, they're
12 not reporting at all. When you report in the Los Angeles
13 Times, you have to adhere to the ethical guidelines published
14 in 2014 by defendant Deirdre Edgar. And I'm going to get to
15 those.
16 These pieces do not even begin to conform to those
17 ethical guidelines because these are not news reports. They
18 don't even rise to the level of an opinion piece. These are
19 hatchet jobs. These are hit pieces. These are a newspaper
20 using its forum in order to destroy an enemy as a favor to a
21 political ally.
22 I will now move on to the article published by
23 Deirdre Edgar who defendant argued was not really the author
24 of the piece, although it's her byline on top of there. So
25 they can use a little confusing language but it's very
26 strange. Here it says, "The Los Angeles Police Department
27 challenged Rall's account and provided documents and a tape
28 recording of the 2001 encounter that indicate the officer did

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1 not use force against Rall and treated him politely."

2 Your honor, there's multiple falsehoods in that one
3 article alone at the time that they published it. The Los
4 Angeles Police Department never provided anything. Chief Beck
5 provided something. And also, they never provided a tape
6 recording. They provided a dub. And for anybody who knows
7 about audio recording, which includes many of the readers of
8 the Los Angeles Times in a city centered around the
9 entertainment industry, there is a big difference. It's the
10 difference between a $100 bill and a xeroxed copy of a $100
11 bill. They're not the same thing.
12 It also says that it indicates the officer did not
13 use force against Rall and treated him politely. To the
14 contrary, the audio shows that I was mistreated and treated
15 impolitely as evidenced by the angry crowd.
16 It says, "The Times interviewed Rall about the
17 discrepancies." I was never told that I was being
18 interviewed. I asked Paul Pringle whether I was being
19 interviewed and he said "I don't know." And he said he would
20 get back to me about that. He never did.
21 Your Honor, Reporter Pringle recorded that
22 conversation with my consent and I answered all of his
23 questions in a forthright and lengthy manner in multiple phone
24 calls. And under discovery, we would have access to said
25 recording. And that's another reason we need to go to trial.
26 "Among the material reviewed was Rall's original
27 complaint written days after the jaywalking stop when the
28 encounter was fresh in his mind. In the letter, Rall accused

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1 the officer of rudeness but not of any physical abuse."

2 Your Honor, that's true, but I didn't publish that
3 piece in the Los Angeles Times. That's not an issue. And
4 failing to mention something doesn't make it untrue. This
5 morning I brushed my teeth. I didn't publish it in my blog.
6 It doesn't mean it didn't happen.
7 It says here, "Experts engaged by the Times in
8 separate assessments said they could not hear any mention of
9 handcuffs."
10 Your Honor, as we talked about earlier, that's not
11 true. And the implication here in sentence after sentence,
12 I'm a liar and fabulist. Again, a death sentence for a
13 reporter, potentially.
14 "Beck also said they found no indication as Rall had
15 asserted that the LAPD recording was edited twice or otherwise
16 altered to conceal misconduct by the officer."
17 Your Honor, Mr. Primeau, one of the two audio
18 experts, told Ms. Smith the editor that there was no way for
19 him to analyze a copy without having the original and the
20 device with which it was made. He asked the Times where it
21 originated, if it originated from the LAPD.
22 Your Honor, Mr. Primeau told Gina Smith, and she
23 would testify under oath to that effect and have signed
24 declarations to that effect, that no, the answer is it did
25 not.
26 It says here, "Rall has offered varying descriptions
27 of the jaywalking stop since then."
28 Granted, that's just an implication, but it's part

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1 of the overall tone, the gist, the sting of this article. It

2 implies that "varying" is different. Your Honor, everybody
3 who tells stories over and over again are going to add
4 different details. There is no contradiction between any of
5 the stories -- any of the details in the stories that I have
6 told throughout the years.
7 Then they go on to refer to lots of stuff that I
8 wrote in blogs. By the way, it's interesting because I wrote
9 about this over and over again over the years, and the Times
10 interprets that -- is looking for inconsistencies between the
11 various accounts. It never occurs to them that maybe the
12 reason I keep writing about it is because it really happened,
13 because I'm really angry about it, because nothing ever came
14 of it, because the story went down exactly the way I said.
15 Also, here there is a falsehood. "This year in his
16 post for the Times Opinion L.A. blog Rall wrote that Durr" --
17 that's the name of the LAPD officer -- "threw him against a
18 wall, slapped on handcuffs and roughed him up."
19 Your Honor, that's a false statement. Officer
20 Durr's name was never mentioned in my Opinion L.A. blog.
21 There are so many falsehoods, I think you get the
22 idea. It said, "The department had investigated Rall's
23 complaint in January 2002."
24 Your Honor, we don't know if that statement is true
25 or not. If they investigated it, they investigated it without
26 me. And I was waiting by the phone. I called the LAPD
27 Internal Affairs department at least once to check on the
28 status of my case. They had nothing to tell me. They had my

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1 number. They could have called. They didn't. If they

2 called, they never got through.
3 "The LAPD provided Rall's letter of complaint."
4 Not true. Chief Beck provided it. Then what is
5 interesting is the -- it goes on, "The LAPD also provided a
6 copy of an audio recording of the jaywalking stop."
7 You know, in the very same article in the editor's
8 note it said recording and audiotape and tape. Which is it?
9 Is it a copy or is it the audiotape? It makes a difference.
10 "A second recording furnished by the department was
11 made by Sergeant Kilby when he called Rall's phone number and
12 left a voice mail."
13 There is no evidence whatsoever that he called my
14 phone number and left a voice mail. To the contrary, the
15 evidence that they provided in the audio recording of them
16 leaving messages on someone's answering machine is that they
17 called the wrong number.
18 Now, here finally, they get to the point. "Durr's
19 recording made on a microcassette recorder and later
20 transferred to digital format runs about six minutes and
21 include traffic sounds and other background noise."
22 So in other words, here, the Times finally admits by
23 but this point most readers have gone away because it's 2500
24 words. I'm already bored reading this to you and I bet you
25 are too. There is no original given to the Times or the audio
26 experts. By their own account it contains traffic sounds and
27 other background noise, meaning that even if I had written
28 that I was -- went out to dinner with space aliens on Melrose

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1 Boulevard that night there is nothing to contradict that

2 statement on an audio that contains traffic sounds and other
3 background noise.
4 "The officer is heard calmly answering Rall's
5 questions."
6 Your Honor, that's subjective. I don't know if it's
7 -- he sounds sarcastic to most people who are listening to it.
8 The comment, "About halfway through the recording
9 faint voices can be heard in the background for a minute and a
10 half. The comments are unintelligible on the LAPD tape."
11 Your Honor, this is another false statement. I
12 can't even count them. There is no LAPD tape that is not in
13 the evidence room at the LAPD. What there are -- and it's
14 also interesting that three weeks into this controversy,
15 suddenly faint voices can be heard in the background when they
16 weren't there in the editor's note because Nick Goldberg and
17 whoever else was working on this like Paul Pringle, never
18 bothered to listen to the audio.
19 The fact is there are voices and, the fact is it is
20 possible to hear what they say. And Your Honor, I would show
21 that at trial. I allege that if I had the opportunity to
22 present this before a jury, they would be able to hear the
23 voices and some of what they're saying. And that a jury that
24 heard that would see that what the Times published at the
25 time, both on July 28 and on August 19, was false and was
26 knowingly false at the time.
27 "Officer Durr said he had not roughed up Rall or
28 handcuffed him up in his entire career, he said. Said he has

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1 never handcuffed anyone for jaywalking."

2 However, and this is in evidence, there is an
3 article published by the Los Angeles Times in May 2015 showing
4 Officer Durr having handcuffed a suspect with a partner for a
5 more minor offense than jaywalking. So Durr's credibility was
6 already undermined and the Times should have revealed that to
7 their readers.
8 This is not a paper trying to get to the bottom of
9 things, investigate, reporting on official public records.
10 This is a newspaper that realized it has painted itself into a
11 corner, that it has readers canceling subscriptions, that is
12 getting criticized by other prestigious publications around
13 the country and is now engaged in a campaign of damage control
14 and scorched earth tactics.
15 Here it says, "Pringle contacted Rall and sent him
16 copies of the documents provided by the LAPD and a copy of
17 Durr's audio recording."
18 Your Honor, the documents were never provided by the
19 LAPD and I would show that at trial.
20 And so that's probably it for that. I want to get
21 into the ethical guidelines. Sorry, more falsehoods because
22 2500 words is a long time.
23 "He" -- that's Rall -- "has taken aim at Durr's
24 recording contending that the LAPD transcript is incomplete."
25 Your Honor, there is no LAPD transcript. There is a
26 Beck transcript. And the LAPD transcript is missing crucial
27 pages and has other differences between official records and
28 what was sent to former publisher Austin Beutner. That's a

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1 false statement.
2 "Commander Andrew Smith the LAPD spokesman said the
3 department's audio experts analyzed the tape to determine
4 whether Durr might have turned the recorder off and then on
5 again to avoid recording parts of the encounter. They found
6 no indication they had done so, Smith said."
7 It's an absurd statement as to the point of being
8 false. Asking the LAPD to analyze their own evidence is not a
9 newspaper engaged in an act of due diligence.
10 Your Honor, I studied anti-SLAPP decisions over the
11 last few years in the state of California, and most courts
12 have ruled against publication defendants when they exhibited
13 a lack of due diligence. This is an example of that. They
14 never sent it out to audio experts. And certainly not
15 originally and, really, probably not even in time for the
16 Deirdre Edgar publication.
17 "Smith said that LAPD experts later enhanced the
18 recording" -- that's the cleaning up -- "and could not hear
19 anyone complaining about handcuffs." There we go, la la la, I
20 can't hear you. "They found no indication that the tape was
21 spliced or otherwise altered, he said."
22 Where is this enhancement? Why was it not provided
23 embedded along with the other audio files with the online
24 edition of this August 19 piece? It defies credulity to
25 think, first of all, that the LAPD could be trusted to
26 investigate itself if, indeed, the records originated with the
27 LAPD which I assert they do not. But also, I never stated
28 that Officer Durr might have turned the recorder off and then

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1 on again to avoid reporting parts of the encounter. I never

2 implied it, I never thought it. This is something they're
3 just making up.
4 Now, here it says, "The Times had the recording
5 analyzed by two leading experts in audio and video forensics.
6 Edward J. Primo of Rochester Hills, Michigan, has worked in
7 the field for more than 30 years and has testified in numerous
8 legal proceedings, including a criminal trial for both the
9 prosecution and the defense."
10 Your Honor, he is a very important and prestigious
11 man who, in fact, authenticated the Zapruder film of the John
12 F. Kennedy assignation in 1963 using the original recorder
13 device with which it was made and the original reporting. So
14 Mr. Primeau is indeed a leading light in his field.
15 The Times goes on to say, "Primeau said that the
16 voices heard in the background on Rall's enhanced version are
17 mostly unintelligible and that he did not detect any mention
18 of handcuffs. He said Rall's transcript was not accurate."
19 Well, he didn't say it was wrong. And what the
20 Times leaves out is very important. The Times leaves out that
21 they never paid him to do a proper enhancement and that he was
22 unable to authenticate, and that the Times couldn't even tell
23 him if the documents originated with LAPD or Charlie Beck or
24 anyone else. It would have been impossible for Primeau to do
25 so because he didn't have the materials that he needed. He
26 was very frustrated.
27 Again, Your Honor, I remind you that the anti-SLAPP
28 statute requires the court to consider these assertions as

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1 being true unless the Times can show that they're not for the
2 purpose of deciding whether this case survives or the
3 anti-SLAPP motion goes forward.
4 Now, we going from the ridiculous to the absolutely
5 ridiculous when we get to the case of Catalin Grigoras,
6 director of the National Center for Media forensics at the
7 University of Colorado, Denver, also analyzed the recording
8 for the Times. Also, I would remind you, Your Honor, that
9 recording has not been provided by the Times to its readers.
10 "Grigoras, an electrical engineering, has consulted
11 in criminal cases for both the prosecution and the defense and
12 has published numerous peer-reviewed articles on how to
13 authenticate and enhance recordings. Grigoras said his
14 analysis detected no reference to handcuffs. He said a man
15 and a woman can be heard speaking in the background at one
16 point but only a few of their words are intelligible.
17 Grigoras said the man and woman appear to be having a
18 conversation unrelated to the jaywalking stop."
19 I mean, Your Honor, seriously. "It is obvious the
20 police officer is not part of that conversation," he said. He
21 says he can't hear it, but he doesn't know what's being said,
22 but he knows what is not being said. Really?
23 So I mean, this is just a few of the falsehoods and
24 reckless disregard for the truth. Certainly in the article --
25 the Editor's note is bad, but the article is much worse.
26 So there's more, but I'll move on to the ethical
27 standards of the L.A. Times which I think goes to the crux of
28 this case.

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1 In June 18, 2014, Deirdre Edgar published a piece in

2 the Los Angeles Times entitled "L.A. Times Updates Newsroom
3 Ethics Guidelines" and introduced the Los Angeles Times
4 ethical guidelines. These are the guidelines that every
5 staffer at the Los Angeles Times is required to scrupulously
6 follow when reporting the news, which is what defendants claim
7 they were doing in this case when reporting on their firing of
8 me over fabricating the way that I was treated during a
9 jaywalking stop 14 years previous.
10 So from the preamble it states, "The standards
11 outlined here apply to all editorial employees and to the work
12 they produce for the Times whether it appears in the print, on
13 the web, on social media, on television or on any other
14 platform." Your Honor, this has been submitted in evidence as
15 well.
16 "Fairness. A fair-minded reader of the Times news
17 coverage should not be able to discern the private opinions of
18 those who contributed to that coverage or to infer that the
19 organization is promoting any agenda. A crucial goal of our
20 news and feature reporting, apart from editorials, columns,
21 criticism, blog posts and other content that is expressly
22 opinionated is to be nonideological." I want to emphasize
23 that, "apart from blog posts and other content that is
24 expressly opinionated." In other words, like political
25 cartoons and political blogs that accompany said political
26 cartoons.
27 I can be ideological under the Times ethical
28 guidelines. They wrongfully terminated me over -- even if,

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1 for the sake of argument, I had lied about what happened

2 between me and Officer Durr on October 3, 2001, I have the
3 right to that exaggeration. Now, as it happens, I didn't.
4 But they wrongfully terminated me on July 28, 2015, on this
5 sentence alone.
6 Another quote. "It also requires us to examine the
7 ideological environment in which we work."
8 Now, Your Honor, this is probably the most important
9 part so I would like to emphasize this. "People who will be
10 shown in an adverse light must be given a meaningful
11 opportunity to defend themselves."
12 Your Honor, I was not given a meaningful opportunity
13 to defend myself. Again, continuing. "This means making a
14 good faith effort to give the subject of allegations or
15 criticism sufficient time and information to respond
16 substantively."
17 Your Honor, I was never given the right to meet with
18 my editor Cherry Gee, who is no longer at the paper and, in
19 fact, can't testify because the Times appears to be the only
20 paper in the United States to have downsized employees and
21 required them to sign a gag order in order to take their
22 retirement package and early retirement. This is a scandal in
23 American journalism. But I will, of course, depose her and
24 put her on the stand at trial.
25 "Whenever possible the reporter should meet directly
26 with the subject in a sincere effort to understand his or her
27 best arguments."
28 Your Honor, when this all happened I was in East

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1 Hampton, New York. I was coming back and forth to Los Angeles
2 frequently to meet with my editors including Cherry Gee, Susan
3 Brenneman, and I was not offered the opportunity to even speak
4 to my editors. I was not offered the opportunity to explain
5 myself to the editorial board. I was not offered the right to
6 appear on Skype. I offered at on my own expense to take a
7 polygraph test to prove that I was telling the truth.
8 MS. SAGER: I would object to Mr. Rall talking about
9 polygraph tests. Those are not admissible and it's not been
10 in the record.
11 THE COURT: I would sustain that, counsel.
12 MR. RALL: So I was not given any opportunity to
13 meet directly.
14 Again, adverse light. Could there be a more adverse
15 light than the editor's note and the article for anyone to be
16 presented under? It would be hard to imagine. I was not
17 given a good faith effort to give the subject of allegations
18 or criticism time or information to respond substantively.
19 Deirdre Edgar, the person who wrote these ethical
20 guidelines in 2014, she wrote the 2500-word article about me.
21 She never called me. She never e-mailed me. She didn't send
22 a passenger pigeon. I never heard from her before she
23 published that thing. So I didn't really get much
24 opportunity. There is nothing in the filings that indicate
25 that Deirdre Edgar ever even crossed her mind to call me.
26 In fact, after I called in complaint, the Times
27 published a third piece announcing that I had filed the
28 complaint. The reporter didn't call me or e-mail me for

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1 comment. That's the kind of paper we're talking about here.

2 It's insane.
3 Furthermore, there is a section about anonymous
4 sources in the ethical guidelines. "Anonymous sources have
5 been the subject of a lot of controversy in American
6 journalism over the last 10 or 20 years. We report in
7 environments -- Hollywood and Washington to name two -- where
8 anonymity is routinely sought and casually granted. We stand
9 against that practice and seek to minimize it. We are
10 committed to informing readers as completely as possible the
11 use of anonymous sources compromises this important value."
12 Chief Beck was kept anonymous in both the editor's
13 note and the article. The only reason that I know, or I
14 should say I believe that Chief Beck provided the documents
15 and the audio recording to Publisher Beutner is because the
16 defendants provided an affidavit from the current police chief
17 of Greenbay, Wisconsin saying he was in the room when this
18 meeting took place.
19 THE COURT: Counsel, I'm going to have to you give
20 you some more time, but I've already got five pages of notes.
21 And there was something I did want you to comment on, and that
22 is, you have eight causes of action in your complaint and
23 four, five, six and seven causes of action deal with wrongful
24 termination. And then the other causes of action, the other
25 three or four cause of actions deal with defamation and so
26 forth.
27 One of the issues before the court that's being
28 raised by the Times and by yourself in your paperwork is

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1 whether you were an employee of the Los Angeles Times or

2 independent contractor. Now, apparently -- and this is what I
3 have read; if I'm wrong, please in your argument let me
4 know -- but apparently you worked out of your home and live in
5 New York. You were paid per cartoon or per blog. You choose
6 your own topics. Whatever you publish in the way of cartoons
7 and so forth are owned by you as your own work. You are free
8 to publish your cartoons elsewhere besides the L.A. Times.
9 So tell me how, as an employer, the times that you
10 were employed.
11 MR. RALL: Your Honor, the state of California
12 broadly construes the definition of "employee" after the Uber
13 decision. But to address your questions directly, the Times
14 presented me as a member of its staff on its website. There
15 is a section of the site that says something along the lines
16 of Freelancers are not on there. I was on
17 there. And that has been entered into evidence.
18 Furthermore, I was treated as a staffer as by my
19 editors. For example, you'll see all in the payroll records
20 that there is at least one extraordinary payout at the end of
21 the year when my editors decided that they would issue me a
22 bonus. That's not something you would get as a freelancer.
23 Also, Your Honor, respectfully, it is not true that
24 I was free to publish my cartoons elsewhere for the Los
25 Angeles Times. I would have to receive permission to do so.
26 For the most part, the cartoons were about issues related to
27 the city of Los Angeles and the state of California and would,
28 therefore, probably have not much ability to be sold in other

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1 markets, in any event. But on top of that, the cartoons

2 belonged to the L.A. Times and I had to ask permission.
3 There was also considerable editorial control on the
4 part of the L.A. Times over the production of my work. There
5 were certain specifications relating to the sizing,
6 resolution, color or black and white. I had to deliver on the
7 set deadlines. I had to submit rough sketches at a certain
8 time. It is also again, Your Honor, not true contrary to what
9 defendants has alleged, that I chose my own topics. Often
10 they were assigned to me. And on other occasions I would
11 pitch ideas.
12 But it was always the Times' decision whether or not
13 I did a cartoon about a certain topic. And the control was
14 pretty rigorous. I would submit one or two or three ideas by
15 e-mail, then typically I would draw rough sketches for each of
16 them. And then typically the editor would pick one or none.
17 And if it was none, I had to do it over again. And then
18 ultimately I would be asked to draw a final cartoon. Even
19 then the process might not be finished. If there was a
20 problem or a desire to edit it further, my editors would call
21 me further or ask me to make a change.
22 It was definitely not like a syndication
23 relationship where I would just, as I have with other
24 newspapers, where I would just draw a cartoon about any topic
25 of my choosing, send it out, and if they want to run it, they
26 can or not. But it's not the same sort of relationship.
27 THE COURT: Okay. Then sort of wrap up the rest of
28 argument because counsel has a right to reply and you'll get a

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1 short rebuttal, but it's already 11:00 o'clock.

2 MR. RALL: If I may, I'd just like to talk a little
3 bit more about the ethical guidelines. I'll do so as quickly
4 as possible.
5 "Relying on unnamed sources should be a last
6 resort." That was not the case here with Chief Beck. "When
7 we use anonymous sources, it should be to convey important
8 information to our readers."
9 I think the possibility that a cartoonist has lied
10 in a blog about you how he was treated by a cop in a
11 jaywalking stop in 2001 is probably not super important as to
12 the readers of the L.A. Times.
13 "We should not use such sources to publish material
14 that is trivial, obvious or self-serving." Obviously this
15 material was self-serving in this case. It was self-serving
16 because Chief Beck had a close political and economic alliance
17 with the publisher at the time, Austin Beutner. Also Beutner,
18 the publisher at the time, had just recently received the 2014
19 Badge and Eagle award from the Los Angeles Police Protective
20 League for supporting the LAPD, quote, "in all that they do."
21 There was also some financial entanglements and a
22 very close relationship between Chief Beck and Mr. Beutner,
23 again, that we would be able to show this at trial. And I
24 think that if a jury were to hear this, they would find it
25 compelling.
26 "Sources should never be permitted to use the source
27 of anonymity or to voice speculation."
28 Even if you buy defendant's case at face value, all

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1 it boils down to, both the editor's note and the article, is
2 speculation. Well, maybe Ted lied. Maybe he didn't tell the
3 truth about this jaywalking thing. We don't know. Or to make
4 ad homonym attacks. This wasn't ad homonym attack. It
5 characterized a journalist.
6 And I'm not just a cartoonist and a blogger, Your
7 Honor. I also do straight journalism. I went to Afghanistan
8 to report from the war zone for the Los Angeles Times. That's
9 not just exactly a freelance cartoonist.
10 "And unnamed source should have a compelling reason
11 for insisting on anonymity such as fear of retaliation and we
12 should state those reasons when they are relevant to what we
13 publish."
14 Chief Beck seems like a big boy. I don't think he
15 was afraid of being retaliated against. And the Times did not
16 state the reasons for protecting him in either editor's note
17 or the publisher.
18 "Some sources quoted anonymity might tend to
19 exaggerate or overreach precisely because they will not be
20 named. We should identify sources as completely as
21 possible" -- I'm almost done -- "consistent with the promise
22 of anonymity. In particular, a source's point of view and
23 potential biases should be disclosed as fully as possible.
24 For instance, an adviser to democratic members of the House
25 Foreign Affairs Committee is preferable to a congressional
26 source." Or perhaps in this case a very, very, very high-
27 ranking LAPD official would have sufficed.
28 I will wrap it up and I thank you for giving me this

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1 time, Your Honor.

2 The defendant is right that this case is about a
3 matter of public interest. There is a public interest in a
4 free press free of corrupting conflicts of interest, for
5 example, between a publisher who wants to be mayor and a
6 police chief he thinks might be able to get him one, and
7 between a police chief who's been repeatedly criticized by a
8 admit cartoonist and blogger who is sensitive against
9 criticism against him and his department. A publisher who
10 received an award from a police organization, another
11 violation, by the way, of the ethical guidelines. You can
12 look it up. Staff of the L.A. Times is not supposed to accept
13 any non-journalistic awards. This was not a journalistic
14 award, Your Honor.
15 So this is not a SLAPP, Your Honor. I want to win.
16 I don't want to make the Los Angeles Times broke. I just want
17 to protect my own First Amendment rights to express myself.
18 This is a classic defamation case. The bar for defamation,
19 especially in the age of anti-SLAPP, is extremely high.
20 And I have consulted with numerous prospective
21 defense attorneys about this and they have all told me that
22 the biggest hurdle by far would be surviving the defendant's
23 anti-SLAPP motion here. They say if this gets before a jury,
24 we are almost certainly going to prevail.
25 Your Honor, that's the standard for surviving
26 anti-SLAPP. And I respectfully request that you consider that
27 from that point of view. And if you would kindly issue a
28 statement of decision, I would appreciate that.

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1 Also, Your Honor, one last thing. We're here for

2 two motions: We're here for the anti-SLAPP motion related to
3 the L.A. Times and Tronc, and the other one is related to
4 Tribune Media Services. I would like to address the Tribune
5 Media Services motion as a separate matter, if I may.
6 THE COURT: Please, again.
7 MR. RALL: This one is much shorter, I promise.
8 There have been numerous reorganizations of what was then
9 Tribune Los Angeles Times Group since 2009, a paper that's
10 been in chaos. My previous counsel appears not to have been
11 aware of the 2014 corporate reorganization that allegedly
12 separated Tribune Media Services and spun it off as an entity
13 that apparently relates to the television and radio
14 organizations.
15 And assuming this entity is not involved -- which I
16 don't know. We really would need discovery to know that --
17 according to ABA rules, the opposing counsel should have
18 simply called my former counsel, Mr. Shegarian's office, to
19 notify them that they were not the proper defendant. But they
20 cannot do that at all. And instead, they filed this what I
21 would say is a frivolous anti-SLAPP motion which unnecessarily
22 burdens the court with an extra set of hearing dates, and
23 burdens either the defendant or the plaintiff, depending on
24 which way the court rules, with excessive legal fees. And I
25 don't think the court should reward flagrantly unethical
26 behavior in violation of basic ethical standards for any
27 officer of the court.
28 There is a Supreme Court decision from 2001 which

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1 states that -- I'm sorry, from 2010, that states that if a

2 plaintiff mistakenly sues the wrong corporate entity, the
3 defense has a duty to inform opposing counsel, not engage in a
4 scorched earth litigation campaign filing frivolous motions.
5 So, unlike the Los Angeles Times, I can admit when I
6 make a mistake. I don't think my previous counsel probably
7 should have sued Tribune Media Services. And I would happily
8 stipulate to dismissing that part of the case if, in fact,
9 they weren't involved as long as the court or the defendant
10 were to indemnify me from that pro rata share of any potential
11 legal fees that would be occasioned by an unsuccessful
12 anti-SLAPP motion.
13 Thank you, Your Honor.
14 THE COURT: Let me ask counsel here, I have Tribune
15 Media Company is now called Tronc Inc; is that right?
16 MS. SAGER: What used to be Tribune, Your Honor,
17 split into two companies. One is Tribune Media. That's a
18 broadcasting company and that's been a broadcasting company
19 since 2014. What is now Tronc was Tribune Publishing which
20 publishes newspapers. That's now Tronc. That's the entity
21 that owns the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers. That's
22 the entity that Mr. Rall's all claims relate to. None of them
23 have ever related to the broadcasting company. None of them
24 have ever related to Tribune Media. And his counsel knew that
25 14 months ago.
26 MR. RALL: Your Honor --
27 THE COURT: Hold on. I'm just trying to find out.
28 I have Tribune Media Company, and you are saying Tronc owns

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1 the L.A. Times.

2 MS. SAGER: Correct. It used to be Tribune
3 Publishing.
4 THE COURT: Tribune Publishing then is no longer
5 a --
6 MS. SAGER: It's now called Tronc.
7 THE COURT: It's now called Tronc. So this motion
8 is not on behalf of Tribune Publishing Company then.
9 MS. SAGER: Your Honor, the difficulty is Mr. Rall's
10 former counsel named 12 different defendants, four individuals
11 and eight purported companies. Some of the companies don't
12 exist under the names they sued under, but they refused to
13 dismiss them. 14 months have been going on and --
14 MR. RALL: Your Honor, there has been no request --
15 THE COURT: Tronc is before the court. Now, is Los
16 Angeles Times Communications LLC a part of this?
17 MS. SAGER: Yes.
18 THE COURT: That's what I have.
19 MS. SAGER: And Tribune Interactive, Your Honor.
21 MS. SAGER: Correct.
22 THE COURT: And the last one is Tribune 365 LLC?
23 MS. SAGER: Correct.
24 THE COURT: So there are four parts of this motion:
25 Tronc, L.A. Times Communications LLC, Tribune Interactive LLC,
26 and Tribune 365 LLC.
27 MS. SAGER: Correct.
28 THE COURT: Okay.

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1 MS. SAGER: They added other names in the papers,

2 but those are the four companies that actually exist. Then
3 separately there is a motion brought by Tribune Media. That's
4 the broadcasting company that was split off more than three
5 years ago into Tribune Media Company. It used to be Tribune
6 and now called Tribune Media Company.
7 So the broadcasting and publishing companies split.
8 Mr. Rall's counsel chose to sue everyone. And we have said
9 from the outset, the broadcasting company that split in 2014
10 has never had anything to do with this, certainly could not
11 have because it split off --
12 MR. RALL: Sent to whom?
13 THE COURT: Is Tribune Media Company still a
14 defendant in this lawsuit?
15 MS. SAGER: Yes.
16 MR. RALL: They are. But Your Honor, we were never
17 made aware by counsel. We would have dropped it in 10 seconds
18 flat if she had called.
19 MS. SAGER: Your Honor, the record is before the
20 court. And I appreciate that Mr. Rall doesn't agree with
21 whatever I'm going to say, but it's really not appropriate for
22 him to interrupt me. I listened very patiently for the hour
23 of his speech, but I don't think it's appropriate for him to
24 interrupt me every time I speak.
25 THE COURT: But this SLAPP motion also goes against
26 Tribune Media Company.
27 MS. SAGER: They filed a separate motion, Your
28 Honor, because in addition to all the other arguments we have

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1 made for all the other defendants, they have a unique

2 argument, which is they're a separate company that never had
3 anything to do with this because they've been a separate
4 company. The SEC filings that we submitted to the court and
5 even the plaintiff's own Exhibit 107 confirms it's been a
6 separate company.
7 THE COURT: You're not a party to this motion.
8 MS. SAGER: There are two separate motions, Your
9 Honor, SLAPP motions. Two separate SLAPP motions.
10 THE COURT: So you have one as to the four entities
11 and one as to Tribune Media Company.
12 MS. SAGER: Correct.
13 THE COURT: Now, your turn.
14 MS. SAGER: Thank you, Your Honor. I don't want to
15 take up the court's time unnecessarily. I do want to answer
16 any questions that Your Honor has.
17 There are really only two things that are at issue
18 here. And in evaluating a SLAPP motion, the court is to look
19 at the acts that the plaintiff is complaining about that give
20 raise to the alleged injuries. And the two acts that Mr. Rall
21 is complaining about are, first, the decision not to publish
22 his work in the future which he says specifically in a
23 paragraph of his complaint, he was told they would, quote, no
24 longer publish his stuff. And that's the basis for all of the
25 publication claims that we talk about in our papers, the
26 decision not to publish.
27 The second act that he complains about is the
28 publication of the two articles at issue, the content claims

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1 which are the basis for his defamation and also the
2 blacklisting claim against the corporate defendants.
3 This court has already ruled on the content claims
4 on the individual defendants' motions. And the court found
5 based on the content of the article, that the content was
6 protected by the Fair Report Privilege and by the First
7 Amendment, and that there was no basis for those claims to go
8 forward. So the first cause of action and second cause of
9 action for defamation, the eighth cause of action for alleged
10 emotional distress, this court already found were subject to
11 the SLAPP statute and that the plaintiff failed to meet his
12 burden of proof under the SLAPP statute, so those claims were
13 all stricken.
14 There is no different result that Mr. Rall can or
15 attempted to justify with respect to the company. Instead, he
16 simply has an hour-long argument which is largely focused on
17 the very same issues that his counsel argued on June 21 that
18 this court already rejected based on the pile of pleadings
19 that both parties filed and that this court has already
20 considered.
21 So I'm happy to go through each and every one of the
22 things that Mr. Rall talked about. The things that are
23 already in the record before the court have already been
24 responded to and I don't want to take the court's time unless
25 you have questions. Any new evidence or new arguments that
26 were not presented in the papers are inappropriate and the
27 court should not consider them.
28 So Mr. Rall has repeated a lot of the stuff that's

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1 in the papers. But as we said in our reply and as the court

2 ruled on the individual defendants' motion already, this is
3 not a case about, quote/unquote, "truth." That's not the
4 argument that we made in the SLAPP motion, whether or not the
5 statements that he's complaining about were true or not. The
6 Fair Report Privilege doesn't need the court to adjudicate the
7 truth. The Fair Report Privilege looks at whether the gist
8 and sting of what the articles reported were from records of
9 the LAPD statements made by people in the LAPD that were
10 official statements and so forth.
11 Whether the Times had a good motive or bad motive is
12 irrelevant under the law. And I appreciate that Mr. Rall is
13 not a lawyer, but his counsel who represented him through all
14 the pleadings are lawyers and who argued the very same issues
15 before the court on June 21. None of that is relevant.
16 Now, Mr. Rall may feel personally very strongly
17 about this and clearly he does, but none of that matters to
18 the Fair Report argument. And the only thing in the evidence
19 that, frankly, is relevant to anything Mr. Rall said is the
20 declaration of Andrew Smith who was in the room when the
21 documents were initially presented to the L.A. Times. He
22 identifies the documents as LAPD records, and he said that the
23 records that were subsequently published by the Los Angeles
24 Times which are linked in the article that Mr. Rall is
25 complaining about, there were links in the August article to
26 those very records. And Mr. Smith looked at those links and
27 he says these are, and I quote, "These were the same official
28 LAPD records that I provided to Mr. Beutner in July 2015."

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1 So there is no dispute that the records came from

2 the LAPD. Mr. Rall even got the records from the LAPD, and
3 those are in his exhibits. So these are LAPD records. And
4 everything that he wants to complain about, whether Chief Beck
5 handed him the records or Andrew Smith handed him the records,
6 or some other official person at the LAPD handed him records
7 is irrelevant. They're records from the LAPD. That's what
8 the articles reported on. And there is no dispute about any
9 of that.
10 Under the Fair Report Privilege the articles need
11 only talk about the gist. It doesn't have to be a literal
12 description. It doesn't even have to be precise. The gist of
13 what the LAPD records shows is what the articles reflected,
14 and Your Honor has already ruled on that. So again, I'm happy
15 to go through this in more detail if the court would like, but
16 I don't want to take up your time unnecessarily on issues the
17 court has already ruled on.
18 I do want to address the remaining claims which Mr.
19 Rall did not address in his argument but I think are important
20 to the motions that are pending today, because the arguments
21 that he wants to make about the defamation claims and
22 quibbling about details whether it's a tape or a WAV, or
23 whether it's an audiotape or a copy of a audiotape, none of
24 those are relevant to the Fair Report argument. None of those
25 have any basis for this court to change its mind with respect
26 to the corporate defendants from what it already ruled with
27 respect to the individual defendants. But the only remaining
28 claims that the court needs to address that were not already

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1 addressed in its prior order are the claims that are only
2 against the companies.
3 The blacklisting claim basically arises from the
4 exact same allegation as the defamation claim. The only
5 statement that Mr. Rall is complaining about with his
6 blacklisting claim is the statements that are in the articles.
7 And paragraph 45 of his complaint quotes from the article and
8 it says that they were published to the general public.
9 So we're not talking about a situation where someone
10 at the L.A. Times allegedly called up a future employer of Mr.
11 Rall and gave them bad information and he got fired. That's
12 not what happened. That's not what Mr. Rall is alleging. His
13 lawyers simply took a complaint that they probably filed a
14 million times in employment cases, threw in every single cause
15 of action that they normally throw in with all of the general
16 boilerplate language and tried to shoehorn that into this
17 case.
18 But the blacklisting claim is subject to the very
19 same constitutional defenses and statutory defenses as his
20 defamation claim. As the court has already ruled, those
21 claims, those contents, those statements are constitutionally
22 and statutorily protected. That claim cannot survive either.
23 The other claims that Mr. Rall and his lawyer have
24 thrown into the complaint for wrongful termination and
25 retaliation and so forth, there is no dispute that every
26 single one of those claims arises from the other act at issue
27 which is the Times' decision not to publish Mr. Rall in the
28 future. This isn't disputed. In fact, in their opposition

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1 papers, Mr. Rall's counsel admit that they have an absolute

2 constitutional right to decide whether they want to publish
3 Mr. Rall's work in the future or not.
4 So they have conceded the point. But because all of
5 those claims arise from a publication decision which is within
6 the scope of the SLAPP statute, and that's really not
7 disputed, all of the cases that we cite to the court, both
8 acts in furtherance of speech and acts and decisions not to
9 speak are within the scope of the SLAPP statute.
10 And the Hunter case says that in the context of a
11 discrimination case. The cases like the Greater L.A. versus
12 CNN case say that, the Cronemeyer case, a decision not to
13 publish is constitutionally protected and that falls within
14 the scope of the SLAPP statute.
15 I do want to address something that Mr. Rall said
16 repeatedly about the SLAPP statute which is completely
17 incorrect on the law. His statement that all he has to do is
18 allege something and that's enough to meet his burden under
19 the SLAPP statute, that's not true. And many, many cases that
20 we cite for the court, from the Navellier case on, say that
21 once the court finds the SLAPP statute applies, the burden
22 shifts to the plaintiff to establish a basis for those claims
23 exists with admissible evidence. And that takes care of a lot
24 of the evidence that Mr. Rall has in his papers and a lot of
25 evidence that he wanted to talk about today. It has to be
26 admissible evidence.
27 And we provided the court with numerous objections
28 to some of the things that Mr. Rall mentioned today like

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1 hearsay statements from somebody who says they had a phone

2 call with somebody else. And the person with whom they spoke,
3 of course, has not signed a declaration and there is no
4 evidence before the court that's admissible. All of that
5 evidence goes out the window. So it has to be admissible
6 evidence and it's Mr. Rall's burden on each of his causes of
7 action.
8 The second thing he said that's flatly untrue is if
9 he were to survive on any cause of action, and we don't think
10 he can, he says the case survives. That's also not true. The
11 Brault case, the California Supreme Court decided last August,
12 one of the most recent articulations about the SLAPP statute
13 from the California Supreme Court makes very plain that this
14 court not only has to look at each cause of action separately
15 and can and should strike any cause of action for which the
16 plaintiff didn't meet his burden, the court on a defamation
17 case has to look at individual statements within a cause of
18 action.
19 It doesn't matter that Mr. Rall's counsel decided to
20 throw 32 different statements into their complaint and call it
21 one cause of action. He has the burden as to each of those
22 statements of satisfying the rules under defamation law,
23 constitutional requirements, and statutory requirements as to
24 each of the 32 statements. And the opposition brief doesn't
25 even attempt to do that. They effectively concede that most
26 of the statements really have nothing to do with defamation
27 law, they've just thrown them in.
28 So the court has to look at those statements if it's

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1 going to allow any part of this case to survive. But frankly,

2 there isn't any basis for the court to make such a finding.
3 The content claim, as I mentioned, we dealt with at
4 some length and I'm happy to address any specifics the court
5 would like.
6 The other claims which is, again, not disputed, is
7 the Times had the absolute right under the First Amendment not
8 to publish Mr. Rall's work. If the court reads the cases that
9 we cited -- the McDermott case, the Ampersand case, the Nelson
10 case from the Washington Supreme Court, it actually doesn't
11 matter whether Mr. Rall is considered a employee or a
12 freelancer or an independent contractor. It doesn't matter.
13 The Times had the right to decide who it wanted to employ in
14 any of those categories to put content on its website and
15 content in its newspaper.
16 The McDermott case, they were employees. The
17 Ampersand case, they were employees. And yet, in both of the
18 cases they cite, and the other cases we've cited as well, the
19 court said it's the right of the publisher to decide what the
20 content is going to be. And that's a constitutional right.
21 It trumps all of the employment claims that Mr. Rall's lawyers
22 wanted to throw in here because all of those claims are
23 subject to the First Amendment right of the publishers to
24 decide do they want to publish his work or not.
25 And the L.A. Times chose not to publish Mr. Rall's
26 work. He doesn't get to sue for wrongful termination or
27 retaliation or anything else because the constitution gave
28 them that absolute right.

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1 Their opposition brief doesn't even mention these

2 cases, doesn't discuss them at all. And the reason is because
3 they really don't have an answer to it. They even concede on
4 page 8 of their opposition that the Times had a
5 constitutionality to decide what to publish, and then they go
6 on to say but this is really about defamation. We agree.
7 This is really a case about a defamation claim which the court
8 has already ruled on.
9 But regardless of what they call it, the California
10 Supreme Court said in the Blady decision any cause of action
11 where the injury is injurious falsehood -- and that's the
12 claim -- is subject to the First Amendment and subject to the
13 same rules as the defamation claim and it doesn't matter what
14 the gravamen, what the name of the claim is or what they
15 choose to call it. It's all subject to constitutional
16 restrictions.
17 So whether it's a casting director making a decision
18 about who is going to appear in a TV show or a newspaper
19 deciding who they want to employ as columnists or reporters,
20 that's something that is absolutely protected under the First
21 Amendment.
22 Now, independently, we also think that the record
23 makes plain that Mr. Rall was not an employee of the L.A.
24 Times, and for that independent reason all of his employment
25 recommended claims, the publication claims go out with the
26 window. His own complaint describes him as a freelancer. Mr.
27 Rall described himself in e-mails as a freelancer.
28 So for him to now claim oh, no, I was actually an

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1 employee because that's better for his lawsuit doesn't change

2 his own admission and his own allegations. He can't simply
3 contradict himself later and try to create an issue of fact.
4 The question is whether the Times had control not
5 over the ultimate result of the work that they decided to
6 publish, but over the manner and means of publishing that
7 result. And Mr. Rall essentially conceded all the questions
8 Your Honor asked him about what he had the right to do and how
9 the process worked. He worked from home. He could take five
10 minutes to do a cartoon, he could take five hours, he could
11 take five days, he could write it at home, he could go to a
12 park, he could do it on an airplane. He could do it in ink or
13 pencil or colored pencil. He could do topics that he wanted
14 to do.
15 They might decide not to publish them because the
16 Times did have the ultimate right to decide what was going to
17 be published. But that ultimate decision of deciding whether
18 to publish doesn't convert him from a freelancer into an
19 employee. If it did, everyone, everyone who ever wrote
20 anything for a publication would be an employee which would
21 include me, it would include probably half the judges in this
22 building who have written columns and been published in one
23 publish (sic) or another because they ultimately decide
24 whether it goes in the paper and does it meet the typeface
25 standards and so forth. Those aren't the things the court
26 looked at in deciding whether he's an employee.
27 One of the critical things that Mr. Rall's own
28 evidence shows is that he was paid by the item. He was paid

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1 per cartoon or per blog which he concedes, as he must, because

2 his own exhibit, Exhibit 1, goes through the payment records
3 and shows that as to each thing he was paid, he was paid for a
4 particular item. If that item was not going to be chosen for
5 publication, he wouldn't get paid.
6 They didn't withhold taxes or Social Security
7 because they don't for people who are not employees. He was
8 allowed to write and publish for other people which his own
9 evidence shows. He published 19 books during this period of
10 time. And he worked in another state at his own hours, at his
11 own pace with his own tools and equipment for his own unique
12 skills. And all of those things say he was not an employee.
13 He was a freelancer as he called himself and as his lawyers
14 called him in their complaint.
15 We have given the court individual reasons for each
16 of the claims that they have thrown in here, the retaliation
17 claim, wrongful termination claim and so forth, as to why
18 those claims would fail for yet other independent reasons. I
19 don't want to belabor the point. That's been fully briefed to
20 the court unless Your Honor has questions.
21 This case really is about defamation. And Your
22 Honor has taken a great deal of time and looked at all this
23 very carefully and made a ruling which applies equally to the
24 companies that Mr. Rall is suing as it does to the individuals
25 that the court has already dismissed.
26 And unless the court has questions, I'll submit on
27 the papers.
28 THE COURT: Sir, I'll give you about 10 minutes to

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1 respond that. Obviously, I'm going to have to take this under

2 submission because I probably have about 10 pages of notes
3 now, things I want to reread. And counsel has asked for a
4 written decision which they're entitled to -- sir, you have
5 asked for a written decision which I will do. This afternoon
6 I have to go into another court and so I won't get to this
7 until Monday or Tuesday.
8 Go ahead, your response.
9 MR. RALL: Thank you very much, Your Honor.
10 Defendant says that there are two acts that I
11 complain about, and she continues to repeat that it's about
12 the Times' decision not to publish my work in the future. I
13 don't concede that's what this is all about. But even if it
14 is what the wrongful termination claim is all about, it is
15 true that they could have done that and I probably wouldn't be
16 here standing before you today. It would be a very difficult
17 case to fight.
18 However, I would like -- this is not a case about
19 the truth according to the defendant. It's about defamation.
20 But the truth is, newspapers are all about truth. I'm not
21 claiming that the Times doesn't have the right, as defendant
22 points out, to publish what they want or to not publish what
23 they want. Indeed, that would be a perversion of the First
24 Amendment. But they don't have the right to publish knowingly
25 defamatory, recklessly unsourced, unjustified libel about
26 anyone: Public figure, limited public figure, or private
27 individual. This is about the gist and the sting of this
28 thing.

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1 It seems like defendant is trying to have it both

2 ways. The gist and the sting of the piece comes together in
3 order to frame me as a liar and a fabulist. But at the same
4 time she says that I need to be able to point to each
5 individual sentence in the articles, which I did and belabored
6 and I'm not going to repeat. But it can't be both ways. It's
7 one or the other.
8 Also, I would like to say that it is not true that
9 this court has ruled on the content claims. It has ruled on
10 the anti-SLAPP motion filed on behalf of the individual
11 defendants, but it has not ruled on the anti-SLAPP motions
12 filed by the L.A. Times, Tronc and Tribune Media. And
13 corporate behavior, I think as the court is well aware, is
14 obviously very different from individual behavior. And I
15 would imagine that opposing counsel recognizes that fact or
16 she wouldn't have filed three separate anti-SLAPP motions
17 burdening the court with unnecessary hearings and analysis.
18 She quotes Andrew Smith, the former LAPD official
19 who claims to have been in the room with former publisher
20 Beutner and current LAPD chief Beck, and she says that he says
21 these were the same I provided to Beutner.
22 They're not the same as I have already asserted.
23 For example, Your Honor, when I filed the public records
24 request, I received from the LAPD an envelope via U.S. postal
25 mail at my home in New York that contained a CD ROM that had
26 the official LAPD logo, which I believe has red, white and
27 blue on it. The one that was provided by defense counsel as
28 an exhibit appears to just be a blank CDR that might have come

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1 from an office supply company like Staples. They're not the

2 same, they don't look the same.
3 Certainly I don't think Mr. Smith perjured himself
4 by saying these were the same he provided to Beutner. They're
5 the same ones he provided to Beutner, they're just not the
6 same ones that came out of the LAPD evidence room. So they're
7 not official.
8 So to say that this distinction is a distinction
9 without a difference or that it's irrelevant is sophistry.
10 This is about the gist of the issue. Well, it's about the
11 gist of what the records show according to the defendant.
12 And she also says that it's irrelevant whether it's
13 a tape or a WAV file. I'm not going to repeat what I said
14 earlier about the distinction between an original audio
15 recording that can be authenticated and has a clear chain of
16 evidence and can be dated and proven not to have been tampered
17 with and a WAV file which no audio expert in the world can
18 credibly testify before a court of law can be authenticated.
19 Also, I want to just repeat the fact that I'm not
20 filing for libel or defamation. I'm filing for libel per se
21 and defamation per se because as a journalist I'm being called
22 a liar and a fabulist. It goes to the heart of my profession.
23 That's one of the reasons that the statutes were originally
24 written, is to protect people who work in -- who toil in the
25 world of letters against false statements, because in my
26 profession being known as truthful and having integrity is
27 required to do my job.
28 Also, the defendants should decide which line of

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1 defense they want to pursue. Is the gist and the sting of the
2 story protected as privileged? Or are each of the 32
3 statements protected? Which is it? I can't follow the
4 argument.
5 And then also, if the Los Angeles Times had the
6 right to stop publishing my work, what about the libel and
7 defamation claims. Even if the court strikes the wrongful
8 termination claim, defamation still has to survive because
9 while the Times may or may not have the right to stop
10 publishing my work over no cause whatsoever despite the fact
11 that my editors repeatedly gave me the impression I would
12 continue to work at the Times indefinitely as long as I
13 continued to produce high quality work, it still doesn't give,
14 even under anti-SLAPP, the right of the Los Angeles Times to
15 publish statement after statement after statement that they
16 know is untrue based on a complete willful lack of due
17 diligence compromised by massive conflicts of interest and
18 provided by anonymous sources, none of which have been
19 provided to their readers.
20 As to the statement that I say I'm a freelancer, I
21 can say that I'm a chicken but that doesn't make me a chicken,
22 Your Honor. I'm not a lawyer. It's up to a court to decide
23 whether I was a freelancer or a staffer. But certainly, I
24 repeat, that the Times viewed me as a staffer and treated me
25 as a staffer.
26 The argument that the fact I worked outside of the
27 office holds no water, but the L.A. Times have reporters who
28 work out of foreign bureaus who rarely, if ever, come back

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1 home to Los Angeles. They use their own materials. No one

2 argues that they're not employees.
3 Also, it is not true that I could write about any
4 topic that I wanted. Evidently after Austin Beutner became
5 publisher I was not allowed to do cartoons about the LAPD but
6 no one told me that.
7 But seriously, I could not have submitted a cartoon
8 about any willy nilly topic and gotten it published by the
9 Times. The Times had complete control over whether my
10 cartoons appeared in print.
11 Also, many employees under California employment law
12 are paid by the item. For example, in the Uber case, Uber
13 drivers are paid by the fare, they're paid by the mile,
14 they're paid by the minute, and yet they're considered
15 employees under California law. And lots of Los Angeles Times
16 staffers work in other states and even in foreign countries.
17 If an L.A. Times staffer is based in Damascus, it does not
18 make them less than an L.A. Times staffer.
19 Thank you, Your Honor.
20 THE COURT: It's your motion, you get to wrap it up.
21 MS. SAGER: Thank you, Your Honor. I'll try to be
22 very brief.
23 The SLAPP statute by law in California applies to
24 any manner of publishers. It applies to corporations, it
25 applies to newspapers just like it applies to individuals.
26 And there is not a single case to the contrary cited by Mr.
27 Rall or his counsel.
28 Corporations also don't have fewer First Amendment

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1 rights or rights under California statutes that protect

2 speech. They don't have less of a right to publish under Fair
3 Report Privilege than Mr. Rall does to trash people in his
4 blog which he has done with regular regularity. But he has
5 rights under the First Amendment, so does the Los Angeles
6 Times.
7 So their publication get the same protections. And
8 again, there is nothing that would suggest to the contrary.
9 Certainly no authority. So what the court has already decided
10 with respect to the individual defendants applies equally to
11 the claims made against the corporate defendants with
12 defamation and other things related to the content of the Los
13 Angeles Times articles.
14 Mr. Rall wants to keep going back to whether these
15 LAPD records were from the evidence vault or not but the law
16 doesn't require that. So he may have his own point of view on
17 that, but he hasn't identified a single material difference in
18 the records that the L.A. Times published and the records that
19 Mr. Smith provided and the records that Mr. Rall got from the
20 LAPD. They're the same content and none of that is material.
21 There is no material difference whatsoever.
22 The conclusions that the L.A. Times reached as Your
23 Honor already found were constitutionally protected. So based
24 on the facts disclosed, the Times can reach a conclusion, and
25 it could have actually said directly, we think Ted Rall is a
26 liar. Somebody reading what Ted Rall wrote and reading those
27 LAPD documents could very well come to that conclusion.
28 If the L.A. Times said even that explicitly which,

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1 by the way, they did not, but even if they had, the case law
2 in California makes clear that would have been
3 constitutionally protected.
4 The Thomas case which is cited in our papers had the
5 same precise argument that Mr. Rall made that oh, well, it
6 makes me look like a liar when you disclose all facts and
7 disclose the discrepancies in the facts it makes me look like
8 I'm liar. That was argued in the Thomas case. And the court
9 rejected that and said that conclusion is a protected
10 subjective conclusion based on facts that are disposed.
11 That's the same ruling here.
12 Mr. Rall wants to go back again to the Ethical
13 Guidelines, but those are not legal requirements. The Times
14 attempts to make things as accurate as possible for news
15 people and to set guidelines with respect to how people are
16 dealing with publications on conflict of interests, et cetera,
17 on the editorial side. Those are their internal guidelines.
18 It doesn't create some legal cause of action for Mr. Rall.
19 And there is not, again, a single case cited that
20 suggests to the contrary. And that's assuming that they
21 violated those guidelines which, for all the reasons we put in
22 our papers, they did not.
23 Mr. Rall was interviewed at length. He complains
24 about the fact that he was interviewed at length by
25 Mr. Pringle and by Mr. Goldberg, and he was subjected to
26 questioning. And they gave him the LAPD records and asked him
27 to explain the discrepancies. He had all those opportunities.
28 So the idea that they didn't follow their own practices is not

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1 legally relevant, but the fact is that they did follow their
2 own practices.
3 The last thing I want to mention again, the
4 employment thing. Mr. Rall wants to go back to well, because
5 he lived in New York and worked out of his home he is like a
6 reporter working in a foreign bureau. The key difference
7 being, in a foreign bureau you are actually working in the
8 employer's office wherever that might be. But that's not the
9 only factor. We gave numerous factors to the court including
10 his own admissions as to why he should be considered a
11 freelancer and not an employee. And he wants to refer to a
12 case involving Uber that's never cited in the papers so not
13 before the court.
14 But the factors that are in the cases they cite in
15 addition to the overall manner and mode of achieving the
16 result, those are all things Mr. Rall had control over. The
17 Times decided whether to publish.
18 I may go down to Starbucks every day and order a
19 drink and I may tell them precisely the way I want them to
20 make it and I give them money for that, that doesn't mean the
21 barista is my employee. It means I'm giving specifications
22 for something I want to buy and if they don't meet my
23 specifications, I may choose not to buy that product. The
24 Times may choose not to buy a cartoon from someone. That
25 doesn't make the cartoonist an employee.
26 I think this has probably been dealt with a lot,
27 Your Honor, so I don't want to spend any more time on this
28 unless the court has questions. I think for the same reasons

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1 that Your Honor ruled in June with respect to the individual

2 defendants, the content claims all must be stricken.
3 With respect to the publication claims, they have
4 effectively conceded not only that the SLAPP statute applies,
5 which it must to a First Amendment protected decision, but
6 also that the Times had the absolute right to make that
7 decision. They had the right to publish Mr. Rall's work, and
8 he admitted that had on page 8 of his opposition. They had
9 that right. The Constitution protects it and all of the
10 publications claims should be stricken as well.
11 I have nothing else on the SLAPP motion, Your Honor.
12 I do have one other point of procedure.
13 THE COURT: Sure.
14 MS. SAGER: We noticed on the court's docket that
15 there is an order assigning this case to Judge Court who I
16 understand is taking over this courtroom on Monday. Your
17 Honor had said when we were before the court in July 6 that
18 Your Honor was keeping this case in whichever department you
19 get assigned to.
20 THE COURT: That would be for purposes of the
21 anti-SLAPP motions, counsel.
22 MS. SAGER: And what about the things related to the
23 SLAPP motion? I know there is a motion for reconsideration.
24 THE COURT: If there was a motion for
25 reconsideration, that would be under 1008 A or B.
26 MS. SAGER: I'm not sure how we proceed. We haven't
27 gotten official notice of it yet -- the plaintiffs are
28 supposed to give notice -- but we did see it on the court's

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1 website. It raises the question how we bring things to the

2 court's attention that relate to the SLAPP motion.
3 THE COURT: If it relates to the SLAPP motions, I'll
4 hear them in 71. If it's a motion for reconsideration, that
5 would be heard by me in 71. But as far as discovery beyond
6 that or summary motion or trials, that would stay in this
7 department.
8 MS. SAGER: Understood. Thank you, Your Honor.
9 THE COURT: Thank you. The matter is submitted.
10 Like I said, Monday or Tuesday I'll get it out a written
11 decision.
12 MR. RALL: Thank you, Your Honor.
13 (Whereupon, the proceedings were adjourned at 11:46
14 a.m..)

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6 Plaintiff, )
7 vs. ) CASE NO. BC613703
9 Defendant. )
14 I, MARIA BEESLEY, Official Pro Tem Reporter of the
15 Superior Court of the State of California, for the County of
16 Los Angeles, do hereby certify that the foregoing pages, 1
17 through 66, inclusive, comprise a true and correct transcript
18 of the proceedings taken in the above-entitled matter reported
19 by me on JULY 14, 2017.
20 DATED JULY 18, 2017.

24 __________________________________
Official Pro Tem Court Reporter
26 CSR No. 9132

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