A federal district court in the city of Columbus in the US state of Ohio issued an entry of default against an American neo-Nazi in a lawsuit filed by an Arab American comedian, Dean Obeidallah, who said Andrew Anglin and his website, The Daily Stormer, published fabricated information claiming Obeidallah was a “terrorist mastermind”.
Tuesday’s default entry did not specify how much in punitive damages Obeidallah can collect from Anglin, which will be up to the judge to determine in the final decision. Anglin did not show up in court to defend himself.
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Obeidallah had filed a lawsuit in August 2017 after Anglin, a Columbus area resident alleged in a post on the Daily Stormer website that Obeidallah confessed in a tweet to being the terrorist mastermind behind a May 2017 attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.
The attack left 23 people dead and 250 people injured.
Obeidallah and his lawyers vehemently denied the allegations, stating in court filings that Anglin created fake tweets in Obeidallah’s name claiming responsibility for the attack, for which ISIL claimed responsibility.
The fake article prompted readers of the Daily Stormer to comment and post threatening messages against Obeidallah’s life.
One person wrote, “Look down this barrel and verify if my gun is clean like a good terrorist,” the lawsuit said.
Obeidallah told Al Jazeera that under the advice of his lawyers, he cannot comment on the legal case because it is still technically “pending”.
Obeidallah is a prominent Arab American comedian who tours the country and writes commentaries for CNN, the Daily Beast and other US mainstream media.
Obeidallah, a native of the state of New Jersey, and who currently lives in New York, sued for libel, false light invasion of privacy, infliction of emotional distress and conspiracy.
His suit argues that the article was posted so Obeidallah would be the target of violence and to injure his reputation.
Obeidallah who hosts The Dean Obeidallah show on SiriusXM satellite radio said on his show that “the election of [President] Donald Trump emboldened people who used to be in the shadows of society.”
Obeidallah also commented on how serious the situation is today for many Muslim Americans especially public figures like himself.
Despite having ” a thick skin”, Obeidallah said, “If you are a Muslim American and doing something in the public eye, you are subjected to so much garbage,” in the US.