Newsweek Must Face Police Officer’s Libel Lawsuit, Judge Rules

The case of Wolinski v. Newsweek Digital, LLC, recently decided by Judge Jeremy Daniel (N.D. Ill.), revolves around a defamation lawsuit filed by Plaintiff Alex Wolinski, a sergeant in the Chicago Police Department, against Newsweek Digital, LLC for an article published in January 2022. The article cited a Civilian Office of Police Accountability (“COPA”) recommendation and described body camera footage of an incident involving Wolinski and Ms. Anjanette Young. Wolinski alleges that the description of the footage in the article is inaccurate and damages his reputation as a police officer. Newsweek argues that the fair report privilege applies and that the statement is substantially true based on the events depicted in the footage. However, Judge Daniel has ruled that the defamation claim may proceed as the accuracy of the summary and the “sting” of the statement are still in question. Therefore, the case will continue to be litigated.