This Courtney Love Tweet Provoked The First-Ever Twitter Libel Trial

A widely watched defamation trial against Courtney Love started in Los Angeles this week, and here is the Tweet that spurred the rocker’s old law firm to sue her:

[From the now-suspended Twitter account @CourtneyLoveUK] @noozjunkie I was f—ing devastated when Rhonda J Holmes Esq of san diego was bought off @fairnewsspears perhaps you can get a quote.”

Love fired off the fateful Tweet in 2010 after Holmes refused to pursue a fraud case against the managers of her late husband Kurt Cobain‘s estate, as Poynter explains in a recent article. Love’s Tweet could imply her lawyer took a bribe to back off the fraud suit, which Holmes’ law firm Gordon & Holmes says is defamatory.

There have been other Twitter defamation cases before — including a different one against Courtney Love — but the one behind this particular Tweet is the first to go before a jury.

Here’s the story behind the Tweet: Love hired Holmes a few years ago to represent her in a fraud lawsuit claiming the Kurt Cobain estate managers had taken millions that rightfully belonged to her and Cobain’s daughter, Frances Bean.

Rhonda Holmes spoke publicly in 2009 about representing Love in the suit. She was reported as saying, “I have never seen such greed and moral turpitude. This case is going to make Bernard Madoff look warm and fuzzy.”

But that year the law firm claimed that it told Love she had to “remain clean and sober” in order for the law firm to keep representing her, according to a summary of the defamation suit from Courthouse News Service. The lawsuit claimed that an enraged Love fired the firm after it demanded her sobriety.

Love later came back to the firm and ask it to represent her again, but the firm refused. Holmes’ firm said it cited scheduling issues and a lack of assurance that Love would remain sober when it refused her case.

The firm says Love fired off the angry Tweet at @noozjunkie to damage Holmes’ reputation and reach “millions of people,” according to the lawsuit. However, Love told a court his week she thought she was sending a direct message to two “wannabe reporters,” Spin reported.

Love has also said her Tweet wasn’t defamatory because it reflected her personal opinion.

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