Using Clemens case to teach libel

Thanks, Roger Clemens, for making it easier for my media law students to understand libel, and more importantly, libel defenses.

It can be hard for some students to get a grasp of the libel defense absolute privilege, which protects participants in certain government proceedings. But baseball star Clemens has made the concept more relevant to my students.

The New York Times reports that a large part of Clemens’s defamation case against former trainer Brian McNamee over Clemens’s alleged steroid use has been thrown out of federal court because McNamee’s statements were made during an official federal investigation. That means McNamee is protected by absolute privilege.

That’s libel defense in action with names students know. And that’s a great teaching tool. So thanks again, Mr. Clemens, for helping my students’ libel knowledge “rocket.”

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