In 2012, during an attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, four Americans were killed.
Among them was State Department information officer Sean Smith and CIA operative Tyrone Woods.
Smith’s mother, Patricia, spoke at the Republican National Convention and told convention attendees that the night before the attack, her son said, “Mom, I am going to die.” He explained that all security was pulled from the embassy and that he was never given a response as to why.
During her speech, she noted that although then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told her daughter Chelsea in an email that it was terrorism, that was not the reason she was given.
Patricia said, “When I saw Hillary Clinton at Sean’s coffin ceremony, just days later, she looked me squarely in the eye and told me a video was responsible.”
She claimed she was never told the real reason her son was killed despite numerous requests for answers and declared, “I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son.”
In August, Patricia Smith and Charles Woods, the father of Tyrone, filed a lawsuit against Clinton for wrongful death, defamation, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Politico reported that part of the suit cited her use of a private email server and said:
As a direct result of Defendant Clinton’s reckless handling of this classified, sensitive information, Islamic terrorists were able to obtain the whereabouts of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and … orchestrate, plan, and execute the now infamous September 11, 2012 attack.
After not responding to the suit, Clinton was declared in default by court clerks in September. The lawyer who brought the suit, Larry Klayman, used her own words against her and said the lack of response is “tantamount to her saying, ‘What difference does this lawsuit make?’”
According to The Hill, Clinton had to either argue the default be set aside or move to dismiss the case entirely. She chose the latter.
On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson sided with Clinton and ruled in favor of her motion to dismiss the case. The 29-page ruling began with an acknowledgment of the deaths:
The untimely death of plaintiffs’ sons is tragic, and the Court does not mean to minimize the unspeakable loss that plaintiffs have suffered in any way.
However, Jackson ruled that given legal standards, the plaintiffs didn’t provide sufficient facts to support their claims that Clinton “defamed them, put them in a false light, or intentionally inflicted emotional distress.”
She noted that for a remark to be deemed defamatory, it must be more than “unpleasant or offensive.” It has to make the plaintiff appear “odious, infamous, or ridiculous,” which the ruling claims her comments did not, and Jackson wrote:
To the contrary, the statements portray plaintiffs as normal parents, grieving over the tragic loss of their loved ones.
In terms of her use of a private email server, she wrote that the plaintiffs didn’t properly demonstrate that Clinton was acting in any other way than her official capacity when she emailed State Department personnel about State Department business.
Although in her ruling, Jackson made it a point to note that nothing about her decision should be viewed as her opinion about Clinton’s use of a private email server or whether her statements following the attack were accurate.
Politico reported that Klayman claimed the judge should have left it up to a jury to decide whether the statements were defamatory and said: “Judge Jackson, who is an Obama appointee and a Democrat, was clearly protecting Mrs. Clinton.”
He noted that “this intellectually dishonest decision will be appealed.”