Judge dismisses $25M defamation suit against Alec Baldwin brought by fallen Marine’s sister
A federal judge in Wyoming dismissed a lawsuit filed against Alec Baldwin for an allegedly defamatory Instagram post about a fallen Marine’s sister who participated in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
District Judge Nancy Freudenthal on Wednesday dismissed the lawsuit because the plaintiffs did not establish the court had authority to rule over Baldwin in this case. She said the lawsuit “failed to meet their burden of proof,” noting Baldwin lives in New York and has never lived in Wyoming.
Baldwin donated $5,000 to the family of Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, who died in August in the bombing of Kabul airport in Afghanistan as the U.S. military withdrew from the country.
His sister, Roice McCollum, published a photo in January 2022 showing photos of the riot at the U.S. Capitol and claiming she was part of the pro-Trump mob that stormed the building in a bid to halt the certification of the 2020 election.
According to court documents, Baldwin was appalled by the revelation, messaging her privately: “When I sent you the $ for your late brother, out of real respect for his service to our country, I didn’t know you were a January 6th rioter.”
McCollum replied, “Protesting is perfectly legal in the country and I’ve already had my sit down with the fbi. Thanks, have a nice day!”
Baldwin said “I don’t think so” and told her he had reposted her photo of the rioting.
“Your activities resulted in the unlawful destruction of government property, the death of a law enforcement officer, an assault on the certification of the presidential election,” he messaged.
Baldwin’s public post to his 2.4 million followers on Instagram identified McCollum and shared his donation to her family, as well as her involvement with the Capitol riot. The actor also called her an “insurrectionist.”
The McCollum family sued the actor for defamation and invasion of privacy, arguing McCollum had attended the Jan. 6, 2021, protests in Washington peacefully and that Baldwin inaccurately portrayed her involvement in the riot, which led to damages on the family’s reputation. They sought $25 million in compensation.
The judge agreed with Baldwin’s move to dismiss, writing that “a few internet communications” did not give the court authority to rule in this case since Baldwin has never lived in or recently traveled to Wyoming.
Baldwin is facing several lawsuits for the fatal shooting on the set of “Rust,” when the actor allegedly fired a live round from a prop gun accidentally, killing a cinematographer.