Before his sudden death early Thursday morning at age 43, conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart was facing a defamation suit filed by Shirley Sherrod, the former U.S. Agriculture Department official who was forced to step down from her job after Breitbart posted edited clips on his site of a speech Sherrod was giving to the NAACP that made her appear racist.
Shortly after Breitbart posted Sherrod's speech to BigJournalism.com, which sparked the June 2010 controversy, Sherrod's whole NAACP speech, in which she was speaking about her own experiences with racism and struggles of white farmers, came to light and President Barack Obama apologized for Sherrod's forced retirement.
Sherrod was forced to step down in July 2010 from her position as the Georgia state director of rural development for the Agriculture Department over the edited remarks.
Breitbart, who was known for causing Sherrod's downfall and playing a large role in the sudden fall from grace of ex-U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, unexpectedly died early Thursday morning in Los Angeles of natural causes, according to a BigJournalism.com statement.
Now that Breitbart is dead, what happens to the lawsuit?
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Sherrod's case, which Breitbart unsuccessfully attempted to get dismissed in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, can still proceed, although legal strategy for both parties is unclear, according to Joel Pollack, an editor at BigJournalism.com and its attorney, the Legal Times reported.
We would argue that the primary motivation of the suit was to shut Mr. Breitbart's site down or 'get back at him,' in Ms. Sherrod's words. Perhaps they might change their strategy, I don't know. Certainly we're defending as before, said Pollack, according to the Legal Times.