A judge has dismissed former Stanford Group Company vice president Tiffany Angelle's defamation claim against the Lafayette, La., paper. Angelle had sued the Independent over a story that reported she had given a reluctant investor a Rolex watch and a lavish trip to keep his money in Stanford, which was shut down earlier this year by the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly perpetrating an $8 billion investment scam. In making his ruling, the judge noted that Independent editorial director Leslie Turk, who was also named in the suit, "reasonably relied on a confidential informant whom she believed to be telling the truth and confirmed the accuracy of the source's statement by making a second call to [the confidential source]."
Former Stanford Group Company vice president Tiffany Angelle has sued The Independent Weekly of Lafayette, La., as well as the paper's editorial director Leslie Turk, for their coverage of the company's alleged $8 billion investment scam and its effect on the local community. Angelle is suing the paper for defamation for an April story that reported she had given a reluctant investor a Rolex watch and a lavish trip to keep his business, but the Independent is fighting the suit, saying it was filed "to obstruct the paper's coverage" of the scandal. The Independent, citing Louisiana's anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) law, filed a motion to strike the suit earlier this month.