According to a complaint filed Friday, the family of fallen US Marine Rylee J. McCollum has re-filed their defamation lawsuit against actor Alec Baldwin in New York.
Jiennah McCollum, Rylee’s widow, and Rylee’s sisters, Roice McCollum and Cheyenne McCollum, are suing for $25 million in damages. They accuse Baldwin of making false allegations against the family, including allegedly labeling Roice McCollum a “insurrectionist” in January 2022 after she shared a photo on social media of a crowd of protesters in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021.
“While present at the [January 6th] demonstration, Roice did not participate in, nor did she support or condone the rioting that ensued,” according to the lawsuit. “Baldwin flatly ignored Roice’s denial of rioting and her claim that she was cleared by the FBI for participating in any of the conduct Baldwin chose to falsely attribute to her via his massive following.”
In January, the sisters and widow filed a similar lawsuit against Baldwin in Wyoming. In May, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that it lacked jurisdiction over Baldwin because he lives in New York.
At the time, Baldwin’s attorney Luke Nikas, welcomed the decision. According to him, the lawsuit was filed to “punish Mr. Baldwin for expressing his political opinion.”
The re-filed lawsuit also claims that Baldwin’s comments caused the plaintiffs severe emotional distress.
“Mr. Baldwin gave Ms. McCollum several thousand dollars to honor her husband, and now she’s suing him for more because she disagrees with his political opinion about the insurgency that occurred on January 6th at the United States Capitol Building.” “We expect to win this lawsuit, just as we did the last time they filed it,” Nikas told CNN on Wednesday.
Rylee McCollum, 20, was one of 13 US service members killed in an attack outside Kabul International Airport last August as the US and other Western countries rushed to evacuate their citizens and allies from Afghanistan.
Following Rylee’s death, an online fundraising campaign was launched on behalf of his widow, Jiennah, and their child. According to the lawsuit, Baldwin sent Roice a $5000 check to share with Jiennah as a “tribute to a fallen soldier.”
According to the lawsuit, after Roice posted photos of protesters in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021 to her Instagram account on January 3, “in anticipation of the January 6, 2022, one-year anniversary of her attendance” at the protest, Baldwin commented on Roice’s post, “Are you the same woman that I sent the money to for your sister’s husband who was killed during the Afghanistan exit?”
The lawsuit claims that Roice “was never detained, arrested, charged, or convicted of any crime related to her attendance at the January 6, 2021, event in Washington, DC.”
She responded to Baldwin, according to the suit, that, “Protesting is perfectly legal in the country and I’ve already had my sit down with the FBI. Thanks, have a nice day!”
According to the lawsuit, Baldwin responded, “I don’t think so.” Your actions resulted in the illegal destruction of government property, the death of a law enforcement officer, and an attack on presidential election certification. I reposted your picture. “Best wishes.”
The suit claims that about 20 minutes after Baldwin posted to Roice’s “Instagram feed,” she “began to receive hostile, aggressive, and hateful messages from Baldwin’s followers.”
“Lots of Trumpsters chiming in here with the current cry that the attack on the Capitol was a protest, (a more peaceful form of which got a lot of other protestors imprisoned) and an exercise in democracy,” Baldwin wrote on his Instagram feed, which he later deleted. That’s nonsense.”
According to screenshots included in the suit, his post continued, “I did some research.” On Instagram, I discovered that this woman [Roice McCollum] is the brother (sic) of one of the men who was “killed” in Kabul, Afghanistan.
According to the lawsuit, Baldwin “unmistakably understood” that forwarding Roice’s Instagram feed to 2.4 million like-minded followers and posting his commentary would result in the onslaught of threats and hatred.
According to the suit, Lance’s other sister, Cheyenne, and his widow, Jiennah, began receiving “hateful messages and even death threats” hours after Baldwin’s post.