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Cornwell antagonist ordered to stop

June 08, 2007|From the Associated Press

RICHMOND, VA. — A federal judge has ordered a self-published author to cease an Internet vendetta in which he has accused bestselling crime novelist Patricia Cornwell of plagiarism, bribery, anti-Semitism and even plotting to have him murdered.

Those claims are among 45 specific lies that Leslie R. Sachs has spread about Cornwell, Judge Norman K. Moon said in this week's order granting Cornwell's motion for a permanent injunction.

Moon said the statements were not only false but also were "calculated to expose plaintiff to public contempt or ridicule" and were published with actual malice, thus clearing the high bar the law has set for libeling a public figure.

Sachs has made no direct threats, but Cornwell has said his allegations have caused her fear, anxiety and sleeplessness. She said Sachs' campaign against her was a major reason she moved away from Richmond in 2001. She now lives in Massachusetts.

Cornwell long ignored Sachs but sued him for libel when the Internet attacks escalated.

"I'm trying to keep a cap on my anger, because anger makes you sick, and I don't let myself get hateful because that just poisons you," Cornwell told the Boston Globe. "But when a schoolyard bully punches me in the nose, I'm going to have to hit back."

Sachs did not immediately respond to an e-mail request for comment.

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