Defamation lawsuit against activist continues in state court

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine activist who accused an orphanage founder in Haiti of being a serial pedophile is asking the state supreme court to dismiss a defamation lawsuit.

An attorney for Paul Kendrick told justices Tuesday that his assertions were protected by a Maine law that protects people from meritless suits aimed at chilling First Amendment rights.

The argument was met with skepticism.

But Chief Justice Leigh Saufley noted that the court wants to be careful not to chill the voices of people who speak out on behalf of children.

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Hearts with Haiti and orphanage founder Michael Geilenfeld contend Kendrick ruined Geilenfeld’s reputation and cost the charity millions.

A federal jury awarded $14.5 million to Geilenfeld and Hearts with Haiti but the verdict was dismissed. The case was refiled in state court.

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