The New York Times
Sunday Book Review
October 21, 2007
To the Editor:
Thank you for Rachel Donadio's essay "Libel Without Borders" (Oct. 7), which cogently explains how foreign libel suits are undermining First Amendment protections in the United States. As a New York author whose work on international terrorism has been chilled by one such libel tourist, Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz, I greatly appreciate your bringing attention to this phenomenon.
I also want to clarify some aspects of my case. Donadio writes that Mahfouz "won damages" against me in England, which could be interpreted to mean that he achieved victory in an adversarial process. In fact, Mahfouz received a default judgment against me because I chose on principle not to defend myself in England, where my book was never published and where I would not have received the equivalent of First Amendment protections.
Donadio also states, in the paragraph following the description of Mahfouz's lawsuits against me and others, that "in each case, defendants have paid settlements before trial." I have neither apologized nor paid any settlements to Mahfouz. Instead, I have sued Mahfouz in New York for a declaratory judgment that his English judgment is unenforceable here and that he could not prevail on a libel claim against me in New York. As far as I know, I am the only author who has taken affirmative legal action against Mahfouz. On Nov. 15, the New York Court of Appeals will hear oral argument on whether a New York court has jurisdiction over Mahfouz in my case.
Dr. Ehrenfeld's website is The American Center for Democracy.
With oral arguments in her case on Nov. 15th, there is still time to make a donation to her campaign and help her defray her legal costs.
Keep in mind that the guy who is trying to silence her, Sheikh bin Mahfouz, is a multibillionaire, and is one of the very richest men in the world. He has been persistently linked to the financing of terrorists, including Osama bin Laden, by numerous scholars who have researched the topic, including Dr. Ehrenfeld.