Linda McMahon’s Lawyer Threatens Libel Suit Against Talking Points Memo

Talking Points Memo has published a story reviewing a claim by a former wrestling referee that she was raped by Linda McMahon’s husband Vince. See “Flashback: McMahons Sued Geraldo For Airing Rape Claims By Former WWE Referee,” http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/10/mcmahons-sued-geraldo-fired-employee-for-emotional-distress-after-rape-claim-video.php.

Near the end of the piece, the Talking Points writer, Christina Ballantoni, quotes the McMahons’ lawyer, Jerry McDevitt, as telling the web publisher that publication of the new story would be “at your peril. Preserve all your notes, I’m going to send a litigation hold notice…. We will treat any republication of those allegations as libel and defamation…. I say this on behalf of Mr. McMahon.”

The claim by the referee, Rita Chatterton (“Rita Marie”), was also reviewed in my 2000 magazine article “In Bed With the WWF: Sex and Scandal in Pro Wrestling,” which became a chapter of my 2007 book Wrestling Babylon. The chapter has been posted on this blog. See https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/muchnick-book-bonus-%E2%80%98in-bed-with-the-wwf-%E2%80%93-sex-and-scandal-in-pro-wrestling%E2%80%99/.

Here is the passage about Chatterton from that piece: “[T]he WWF’s first female referee, Rita Chatterton, came forward with a tale of having been raped by McMahon in the back seat of his limousine. Chauffeur Jim Stuart corroborated Chatterton’s account and filed a lawsuit of his own, alleging that, during his WWF employment, he had been forced into witnessing the commission of crimes. Both Chatterton and Stuart have since disappeared into the fog machine. Stuart’s lawyer at the time, Frank Riccio, is not returning calls.”

For background on the legal threats I have received from lawyer McDevitt, see:

* “K&L Gates in Bizarre WWE Smackdown,” American Lawyer Media, October 2, 2009, http://amlawdaily.typepad.com/amlawdaily/2009/10/kl-gates-in-bizarre-1.html

* “Jerry McDevitt, Lawyer for Linda McMahon’s WWE, Gets Mad at Me Again (Part 1),” January 21, 2010, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/01/21/jerry-mcdevitt-lawyer-for-linda-mcmahon%E2%80%99s-wwe-gets-mad-at-me-again-part-1/

* “Jerry McDevitt, Lawyer for Linda McMahon’s WWE, Gets Mad at Me Again (Part 2),” January 22, 2010, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/01/22/jerry-mcdevitt-lawyer-for-linda-mcmahon%E2%80%99s-wwe-gets-mad-at-me-again-part-2/

* “Jerry McDevitt, Lawyer for Linda McMahon’s WWE, Gets Mad at Me Again (Part 3),” January 23, 2010, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/01/23/jerry-mcdevitt-lawyer-for-linda-mcmahon%E2%80%99s-wwe-gets-mad-at-me-again-part-3/

Irv Muchnick

FLASHBACK: McMahons Sued Geraldo For Airing Rape Claims By Former WWE Referee

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