Blogger Crystal Cox is No Journalist, Must Pay $2.5M in Damages, Says Judge

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Crystal Cox, a blogger who was ordered to pay $2.5 million for defaming the founder of an investment group, blogged today that she can't pay the fine and gleefully said the defamation case succeeded in giving her accusation more publicity.

A key element in the judge's ruling is that Cox, who calls herself an "investigative blogger," is not a journalist.

Kevin Padrick sued Cox, who lives in Montana, for defamation after she blogged that he acted unethically and illegally as a trustee in a federal bankruptcy proceeding. The bankruptcy involved Summit Accommodators, a company that helped property owners conduct real estate transactions in a way to limit taxes. Three executives of that company face federal fraud and money laundering indictments, according to the Associated Press.

In the ruling against Cox last week, U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez said Padrick was not a public figure and the bankruptcy case was not in the public interest, two criteria which raise the burden of proof in a defamation suit.

The ruling allowed a jury to award $2.5 million to Padrick, an attorney and co-founder of Obsidian Finance Group in Lake Oswego, Ore.

Cox said she didn't have the money to pay the award.

"See, when you sue me it ends up getting tons more media, I mean "Real Media" to my story claiming injustice in the US Bankruptcy Court," she wrote on one of her websites today.

"That Being Said I want to say that … with every fiber of my being, as the saying goes, I do believe that Kevin Padrick acted unethically and even illegally as a Trustee in a Federal Bankruptcy Proceeding and I intend to keep telling my story until an impartial investigation is done…" she wrote on her site.

Padrick said he did not expect to collect much of the $2.5 million jury award, but his only consolation was that all eight jurors believed he had been significantly harmed, according to the AP.