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Law360: 4th Circ. Finds NC Criminal Libel Law ‘Likely Unconstitutional’

February 8, 2023

A North Carolina statute limiting derogatory campaign speech was found to be “likely unconstitutional” by a Fourth Circuit panel today, handing a victory to state Attorney General Josh Stein who was facing criminal prosecution under the law for comments made during his 2020 campaign. “The district court denied a preliminary injunction because it determined plaintiffs were unlikely to succeed on the merits. We disagree,” Circuit Judge Toby J. Heytens wrote. “Not only have plaintiffs shown a likelihood of success, ‘it is difficult to imagine them losing.’” Stein and the other plaintiff-appellants are represented by Michael R. Dreeben, Meaghan VerGow, and Jenya Godina of O’Melveny & Myers LLP.

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