Ex-USDA official's case against blogger begins

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Associated Press

Posted on July 19, 2011 at 2:05 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 19 at 5:02 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawyers for conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart are asking a federal court to throw out a case that former government employee Shirley Sherrod has brought against him.

Sherrod was ousted from her job as a Georgia rural development official last year after Breitbart posted an edited video of her making supposedly making racist remarks. She is suing Breitbart, one of his employees and an unnamed defendant for defamation and emotional distress.

It later became clear that Sherrod's speech was about racial reconciliation and she was invited to return to the Agriculture Department. She declined that offer.

In the first hearing in the case Tuesday, lawyers for Breitbart and the other defendants argued that Sherrod's case is an attempt to dampen free speech and should be dismissed.

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