“Appeals court backs N.C. attorney general in battle to avoid criminal libel prosecution”


A federal appeals court has sided with North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein in his bid to avoid prosecution under a state law criminalizing false and “derogatory” statements related to political candidates.

In a ruling Wednesday, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals did not outright prohibit a North Carolina district attorney from going forward with a highly unusual prosecution of Stein over his claims related to a rival’s handling of rape test kits. But the appeals court’s decision makes it highly likely that a lower federal court will preclude such a development.

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