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Article updated: 6/25/2013 11:04 AM

Court says suit testing blogger's rights can go on

By

WASHINGTON -- A federal appeals court says former Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod can continue her defamation case against a conservative blogger.

Larry O'Connor asked a federal court of appeals to throw out the case, saying it violates his freedom of speech rights. The appeals court Tuesday upheld a federal-district court's rejection of that motion to dismiss. O'Connor is a colleague of the late blogger Andrew Breitbart.

Sherrod was ousted from her job as a rural development official in 2010 after Breitbart posted an edited video of Sherrod, who is black, supposedly making racist remarks. She sued Breitbart, O'Connor and an unnamed defendant for defamation and emotional distress. Breitbart died unexpectedly last year.

The case is one of the first high-profile federal lawsuits to test bloggers' freedom of speech rights.

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