US Judge Backtracks in Haiti Prime Minister’s Defamation Case

A federal judge in Miami is backtracking a ruling that barred a Haitian-American journalist from writing about Haiti’s prime minister.

Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and a South Florida businessman, ┬áPatrice Baker, had sued Leo Joseph of Haiti-Observateur for defamation in September over his reporting of the sale of a telecommunications company acquired by Haiti’s government.

U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro had issued a default ruling in favor of Lamothe and Baker in February.

She reversed course this week, lifting the prohibition and ordering Lamothe and Baker to file an amended complaint detailing facts that support their allegations that Joseph’s reporting constituted actual malice.

Attorneys for the prime minister and Baker did not immediately respond to messages Thursday.

Joseph’s attorney says Ungaro’s latest ruling “was in everyone’s favor.”

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