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Professor Shubha Ghosh Discusses Cayuga Nation's Defamation Lawsuit Against Showtime

Posted on Thursday 8/15/2019
Shubha Ghosh

Cayuga Nation Sues Showtime Networks for Defamation, Law Expert Says May be Difficult to Win

(Spectrum News | Aug. 15, 2019) "Offensive and defamatory,” is how the scenes from "Billions" are described in a new lawsuit against Showtime Networks.

The Cayuga Nation and federal representative Clint Halftown say a character was created to portray their people in a negative light.

The character's name is Jane Halftown, and she's a council member for the Cayuga Iroquois. She participates in an illegal casino land deal, using bribery and blackmail.

The lawsuit says permission wasn't granted to use those names.

But experts say it might be a tough case to win.

"Halftown is a public figure and it's a lot harder to force a public figure to bring a defamation lawsuit,” said Shubha Ghosh, a Syracuse University law professor. “The standard is higher."

Ghosh says the Nation has to prove more happened than just damage to their reputation.

"Would have to also show that that statement was used with technical term ‘reckless disregard for the truth,’” said Ghosh. “Basically, saying things that has no basis and fact, didn't research it ...

Watch the segment