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Bill Tucker
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Appellate Court Rules Against Veteran In Suit Against Fahrenheit 9/11 Filmmaker

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A Federal Appellate Court ruled that a veteran did not have a cause of action for defamation against documentary filmmaker Michael Moore for using footage of the veteran’s television interview in the movie Fahrenheit 9/11. The veteran, who lost both of his arms after a helicopter tire exploded while he was serving in Iraq, had been interviewed by Peter Jennings of ABC News while he was being treated at Walter Reed Army Hospital. The subject of the interview was the beneficial effect of a new therapeutic pain blocking drug the soldier was receiving. After Moore used a segment of the interview in his anti-war documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, the veteran filed suit alleging that the use of the interview portrayed him as supporting Moore’s anti-war views. On appeal, the Appellate Court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the defamation claim on the grounds that a reasonable person would not interpret the substance of the interview as showing the veteran supported Moore’s anti-war message.