Slain Marine’s family revives Alec Baldwin defamation suit

NEW YORK (AP) — The family of a Marine killed in Afghanistan has revived a defamation lawsuit against Alec Baldwin over comments the actor made online.

The sisters and widow of Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum allege Baldwin subjected them to online threats and harassment after he posted and commented on a photo shared online by one of McCollum’s sisters, Roice McCollum, who had been in Washington during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection.

Baldwin had donated $5,000 to the family after learning of the death of Rylee McCollum in a bombing at the airport in Kabul in August 2021, just weeks before his daughter was born. Baldwin had contacted Roice McCollum via Instagram, according to the lawsuit.

In January 2022, Baldwin saw that Roice McCollum posted a picture of demonstrators from former President Donald Trump’s rally taken on the day Congress counted the Electoral College votes from the 2020 presidential election, according to the complaint.

Baldwin sent her a private message and confirmed she had organized the fundraiser for her brother, the lawsuit said. She responded that her participation in the protest was “perfectly legal,” according to court documents.

Baldwin told Roice McCollum he would share her photo with his 2.4 million Instagram followers and wrote: “Good luck,” according to the lawsuit.

In the lawsuit, Roice McCollum said she “did not take part in, nor did she support or condone the rioting that erupted” at the Capitol, and was cleared of any wrongdoing after meeting with the FBI.

The family’s lawsuit was initially filed in Wyoming but dismissed by a judge there in May for lack of jurisdiction because Baldwin made the posts in New York and they weren’t directed specifically at a Wyoming audience.

The current lawsuit was filed in New York on Friday and seeks a combined $25 million in punitive and compensatory damages.

Baldwin had asked for the case to be dismissed in Wyoming, saying he was expressing his political opinion and that claims by McCollum’s sister Cheyenne McCollum and his widow Jiennah McCollum should be dismissed because he did not make any statements about them.

In an email, Luke Nikas, an attorney representing Baldwin, said “Mr. Baldwin donated several thousand dollars to Ms. McCollum to honor her husband, and now she’s suing him for more because she disagrees with his political opinion about the insurrection that occurred on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol Building. We expect to prevail in this lawsuit, as we did the last time they filed it.”

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