Zimbabwe: High Court Orders Mai TT to Pay $500k Defamation Damages to Decor Expert

Socialite and comedienne Felistas Murata, better known as Mai TT in the entertainment industry, has been ordered to pay $500 000 defamation damages to a local home decor expert, Memory Muyaka.

Muyaka also better known as Mai Maketeni, dragged Murata to court early this year accusing her of tarnishing her image in an internet row which dragged for months.

Murata labelled Muyaka a prostitute, a witch, and a cultist in the posts.

High Court judge Justice Erica Ndewere in her ruling said: “Whereupon after reading documents filed on record and hearing counsel, it is ordered that the defendant pays the plaintiff in the sum of $500 000 and the prescribed interest rate starting from the date of judgment up to the date of payment in full.”

However, Ndewere ordered Muyaka to pay the costs of the suit.

Muyaka told the court the postings made by Murata degraded her social standing as a married woman, a business person, and as a Christian.

The decor expert said the Murata has a huge following hence the publications had a big negative impact on her dignity.

“She is a businesswoman who is a director and shareholder of Khloe’s Home and Decor (Private) Limited, a business which is into home decor and design,” the court papers read.

“On several dates between the 17th of November 2019 and 3 April 2020, Murata who has over 170 000 followers on Facebook published several broadcasts on Facebook and WhatsApp platforms about the plaintiff whom she also calls Mai Khloe, Mai Maketeni.

“The said broadcasts stated that the plaintiff was a prostitute, a witch, a gossiper, and someone who blackmails her clients.”

Muyaka’s lawyers said the statements were both wrongful and defamatory of the plaintiff who is a business person and a legally married woman who is highly regarded in her community.

They also accused the entertainer of publishing that Muyaka and three other unnamed people were part of the Illuminati secret society that is believed to be involved in Satanism and that they wanted to kill Murata.

“This was false and intended by the defendant to impute that plaintiff is an evil person. This statement is wrongful and defamatory of the plaintiff who is a Christian,” they wrote in the summons.

Murata further published that Muyaka had given charms to her husband so that he does not complain or question her when she commits adultery.

The two are former and during the live-streams, they accused each other of being jealous the other’s business.

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MasterChef Judge Jock Zonfrillo Is Suing The Australian For Defamation

MasterChef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo has filed suit against The Australian over claims of defamation.

Zonfrillo, who shot to public prominence this year as one of the new judges on the refreshed MasterChef, has launched the Federal Court action against the News Corp paper, over claims the publication defamed him in an article and Facebook post published in August.

That article, published both online and in print on August 9th and 10th, asserted that Zonfrillo “dishonestly claimed” to offer support an Indigenous-run prawn farm in a bid to boost his chances of winning the prestigious Basque Culinary World Prize. The article – headlined ‘Chef Jock Zonfrillo offered support, farm comes up empty’ – claims Zonfrillo visited the Emama Nguda Aboriginal Corporation in Western Australia and offered to help out with their prawn farm operations. The article asserts the visit took place “a few months” before the Basque Prize was awarded in 2018. Zonfrillo was ultimately awarded the prize in August of that year.

Lawyers acting for Zonfrillo steadfastly deny the allegations, asserting that Jock was not even aware of the farm’s existence, and did not visit it, until a month after he was awarded the prize.

A statement of claim filed by Zonfrillo’s legal team asserts The Australian defamed him by “cynically pretended he had a genuine commitment to assisting an Aboriginal community for the purpose of obtaining an award and prizemoney.” Additionally, the claim asserts The Australian defamed Mr Zonfrillo by insinuating that he failed to deliver on an Indigenous food database, for which he received a $1.25 million Government grant. On that charge, lawyers assert the database was completed by Zonfrillo’s Orana Foundation in May, and that the document was now being subjected to a legal review process.

Per court documents, Jock Zonfrillo is seeking damages and aggravated damages, as well as interest and costs. The claim also seeks to have the article in question retracted, and the subsequent Facebook post promoting the article deleted.

Representatives for The Australian have yet to file a defence in this matter.

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The White House asked the Justice Department to handle Trump’s legal defense in a defamation lawsuit brought by his rape accuser

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump stands with Attorney General William Barr during the 38th Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol, Wednesday, May 15, 2019, in Washington. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

© AP Photo/Evan Vucci
President Donald Trump stands with Attorney General William Barr during the 38th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol, Wednesday, May 15, 2019, in Washington. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

  • In a highly unusual move, the Justice Department on Tuesday attempted to take over President Donald Trump’s legal defense in a defamation lawsuit brought by the writer E. Jean Carroll, who has accused him of rape. A claim the president denies.
  • Attorney General William Barr told reporters Wednesday that the DOJ intervened at the request of the White House, according to The New York Times.
  • Barr defended the DOJ’s move, saying it “was a normal application of the law,” The New York Times reported.
  • But legal experts have cast doubt on that reasoning and why the DOJ waited ten months to intervene — just weeks after a court ruled Carroll could seek evidence from Trump such as DNA samples and a deposition.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Attorney General William Barr told reporters Wednesday that the Department of Justice’s surprising decision Tuesday to intervene in a lawsuit against President Donald Trump came at the direct request of the White House.


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On Tuesday, the DOJ said in court filings that it intends to replace Trump’s personal lawyers in a defamation case brought by advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, who has publicly accused Trump of raping her and sued him in November after he denied the allegations.

While Trump’s personal lawyers have been defending him since then, DOJ lawyers argued Tuesday that Trump was “acting within the scope of his office” when he made the comments, meaning the suit should fall under the Federal Torts Claim Act, which would put the US government on the hook for defending him and taxpayers for covering his legal costs.

The timing and highly unusual nature of the DOJ’s intervention has raised questions about its motivations and drawn scrutiny from legal experts.

Last month, a New York state court ruled that Carroll could proceed with efforts to gather evidence, including DNA samples and a deposition of Trump. But the DOJ’s move, which came on the last day Trump could have appealed the ruling, could stall that discovery process and put Carroll’s case in jeopardy.

Under the FTCA, which is also known as the Westfall Act, federal employees cannot be sued while acting in their official capacity. If the new federal judge assigned to the case, Lewis A. Kaplan, agrees with the DOJ’s rationale for intervening, he could toss the case out.

“This was a normal application of the law,” Barr said in defense of the move, according to The New York Times, adding: “The law is clear. It is done frequently. And the little tempest that is going on is largely because of the bizarre political environment in which we live.”

While the government has won several cases involving the Westfall Act, legal experts have cast doubt on the DOJ’s assertion that the law applies to Carroll’s

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White House asked DOJ to defend Trump in defamation case, Barr says

The White House asked the Justice Department to take over the defense of President Donald Trump in a defamation lawsuit filed by a woman who has accused Trump of sexual assault in the 1990s, Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday.

a man wearing a suit and tie: US President Donald Trump (R) and US Attorney General William Barr step off Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on September 1, 2020.

© MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump (R) and US Attorney General William Barr step off Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on September 1, 2020.

Because Trump addressed and denied the accusations by E. Jean Carroll while serving as president, Barr said, the federal government is allowed to step in.

The attorney general also said politics is to blame for the reaction to the Justice Department paying for Trump’s defense and possibly killing the lawsuit.

“This was a normal application of the law. The law is clear. It is done frequently. And the little tempest that’s going on is largely because of the bizarre political environment in which we live,” Barr said in a news conference in Chicago.

“Officials who are elected and answer press questions while they’re in office, even if those questions relate to their personal activity, and could bear upon their personal fitness, is in fact in the course of federal employment, and can be therefore certified under the Westfall Act,” Barr said.

Carroll, a veteran columnist for Elle Magazine, said Trump falsely called her a liar after she accused him of sexual assault.

“President Trump knows that I told the truth when I said that he had sexually assaulted me in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman. He also knows that he was lying when he said that he had never met me before and that I ‘wasn’t his type,'” Carroll said in a statement Tuesday.

Carroll’s lawyers have not yet responded in court to the motion to replace Trump’s private lawyers.

Barr said the White House followed the proper course of action to request the Justice Department’s intervention.

“The process involves the employing agency, which in the case of a president has been the White House, sending in a memorandum requesting certification,” Barr said. “That process was followed in this particular case.”

The White House did not confirm Barr’s statement, but in a statement said the Justice Department’s move “adheres to the plain language and intent of the Statute which the courts have confirmed applies when elected officials, such as members of Congress, respond to press inquiries including with respect to personal matters.”

CNN legal analyst and University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck said Barr’s comments are misleading when it comes to the President.

“Yes, DOJ ‘frequently’ seeks to take over tort claims against federal employees,” Vladeck said. “But there’s no ‘frequent’ history of doing so when the defendant is the President — or of waiting as long as DOJ did here to invoke the statute.”

The lawsuit was filed in November, and a New York judge last month ruled that the lawsuit could proceed against Trump. Carroll is also seeking to require Trump provide

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White House Asked Justice Dept. to Take Over Defamation Suit Against Trump, Barr Says

WASHINGTON — The White House asked the Justice Department to replace President Trump’s private lawyers to defend against a woman’s accusations that he defamed her last year in denying her claim that he sexually assaulted her a quarter-century ago, Attorney General William P. Barr said on Wednesday.

The Justice Department’s intervention in the lawsuit means that taxpayer money will be used to defend the president, and it threatens the continued viability of the case of the plaintiff, the author E. Jean Carroll.

Mr. Barr defended the decision to intervene, arguing that it was routine for the department to take over lawsuits against federal officials — substituting the government as the defendant.

“This was a normal application of the law,” Mr. Barr said during a news conference in Chicago. “The law is clear. It is done frequently. And the little tempest that is going on is largely because of the bizarre political environment in which we live.”

Ms. Carroll’s lawsuit has been reassigned from a New York State court to a Federal District Court judge in New York, Lewis A. Kaplan. If he signs off on the department’s certification that it meets the standards to substitute the government as the defendant, he could dismiss the lawsuit because the government has sovereign immunity and cannot be sued for defamation.

Mr. Barr’s public comments were his first since the Justice Department’s abrupt intervention a day earlier in the lawsuit brought by Ms. Carroll last November.

Mr. Barr said the department was responding to a memorandum from the White House requesting that it take over the case under a law called the Westfall Act, arguing that Mr. Trump had acted in his official capacity as president when he denied Ms. Carroll’s accusation that he had sexually assaulted her years ago in a department store dressing room.

Mr. Trump called Ms. Carroll a liar and said he did not know her, even though the two had been photographed together at a party in 1987 with Ms. Carroll’s former husband. He also said she was “not my type.” She then sued him for making defamatory statements about her.

The Carroll case was at a delicate moment for the president when the Justice Department intervened. Mr. Trump’s personal lawyers had tried to put the lawsuit on hold, but a judge ruled last month that it could proceed. That ruling had also seemingly cleared a path for Ms. Carroll’s legal team to pursue its request that Mr. Trump provide a DNA sample to determine whether his genetic material is on a dress she was wearing at the time of the encounter.

The department’s motion to take control of the case came as Mr. Trump’s private lawyers were facing a deadline to appeal an order compelling a deposition and a DNA sample.

In portraying the Justice Department’s intervention this week as unremarkable, Mr. Barr did not explain why the administration had waited more than 10 months to step in.

The move to portray the case as centering on

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