Defamation Case: Wabote Wins Again as US Court Clears Him of Fraud

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…….. Denies Ude’s motion 7 times
……..Pointblanknews.com to provide reporters names

It became one loss too many for Mr. Jackson Ude, editor-in-chief, Pointblanknews.com last week, as a US court pronounced Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, executive secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, (NCDMB) once again innocent in the corruption case Mr. Ude brought against him.

Jackson Ude, a former Nigerian citizen now residing in Pennsylvania, owns and maintains a website where he publishes Nigerian news articles.

One such article, the NCDMB boss, Engr Simbi Kesiye Wabote, of accepting bribes and paints him as a corrupt Nigerian government official. Wabote filed suit against Ude claiming that the article constitutes defamation.

According to independent reports, between 2021 and January 28, the US based online news publisher, like a serial attacker, has lost all seven motions he brought to the court seeking to upstage Wabote.

On the other hand, the US court superintended by Judge Joseph Leeson Jr. has upheld all the motions sought by Wabote against Ude. The latter has been struggling to defend himself in the defamation suit when for the third time in a space of one month the US court ruled against Ude in a complicated case of motions both him and Wabote brought against each other. 

In one of the order, the American court squashed the subpoenas Ude issued to five banks, including three from Nigeria to provide Wabote’s banking details. While dismissing his motion during one of the court sessions, the court ordered Ude to enter into a protective order before Wabote is required to disclose any banking or other personal and sensitive information.

It gave Ude December 22, 2021, deadline for completion of fact discovery in the original scheduling order and to file dispositive motions by January 4, 2022, while all other deadlines remain in full force and effect.

Last Thursday, while dismissing Mr. Ude’s motion, US Judge Joseph Leeson Jr. issued another order ECF 100, denying Ude’s request for reconsideration and stating that it made its first ruling on the merits of argument, and that the court again finds no misconduct from Wabote or his attorneys.

The Thursday order came after Benneth O. Amadi, lawyer to Ude, on Wednesday, January 26, filed ECF 99, made an appeal requesting the reconsideration of the court’s prior ruling that Wabote and his attorneys have not committed any misconduct regarding discovery or any alleged banking accounts.

In a letter to the court Mr Ude, through his lawyer asked Judge Leeson, Jr., “to take a second look at, and to reconsider, and prevent the manifest error and prejudice in the erroneous denial of the Defendant’s request for sanctions and/or for an order to show cause against the Plaintiff and his counsel. 

“The reconsideration is respectfully necessary because the court committed manifest error of law or fact to the detriment and prejudice of the Defendant (Ude) and the honest administration of justice in this case.”

They alleged further that among other things, that those Bank Accounts associated with Plaintiff at the Zenith Bank of Nigeria and at the Fidelity Bank of Nigeria are still presently active, and still being operated.

However, after reviewing Amadi’s lawyer request, the judge once again dismissed the motion for lacking merit.  In denying the defendant’s letter-request, the judge explained: He (Ude) has not shown an intervening change in the law, the availability of new evidence that was not available when the Court issued its Order dated January 20, 2022, or the need to clear error of law or fact to prevent manifest injustice.

The Court denied his request for sanctions after it considered the merits of the parties’ letter-briefs and oral arguments.

The US Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, on January 5, struck out Ude’s motion to dismiss the case of defamation. In dismissing “Ude’s motion in its entirety,” the court viewed it as “in conclusory, boilerplate type language: insufficient process; insufficient service of process; and failure to join a party under Rule 19. Ude’s Motion does not mention these defenses again.

“Nor are these defenses mentioned in Ude’s Reply. As a result, the court finds these defenses to be “[t]hrow-away arguments left undeveloped [and they] are also considered waived.”

The judge denied Ude’s requests and ordered that the Wabote does not need to respond further to interrogatories or document requests. The order stated that Wabote does not need to respond to the false allegations surrounding the Tee & T company or its bank accounts.

The court ruled that Wabote and his attorneys have not committed any perjury or fraud and have acted completely proper throughout the litigation and discovery process.

However, the judge ruled that he can provide the names of the reporters and editors without stating which portions of the story they contributed to.

Since the efforts of Amadi to stop his client from revealing the names of the reporters have failed, interest parties will now wait for the outcome of the February 9, deposition to see if Ude will under oath reveal the names of his colleagues in court.

By Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja

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