A federal judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit yesterday filed against the Dixie Chicks by the stepfather of one of three 8-year-old boys killed in Arkansas 15 years ago, the Associated Press reports. Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of Stevie Branch, claimed that Dixie Chicks’ singer Natalie Maines accused him of being involved in the deaths of his stepson and the two other boys.
Hobbs cited a letter Natalie posted on the country group’s Web site and remarks she made at a rally in Little Rock in 2007, according to the AP.
Three teenagers who became known to sympathizers as the “West Memphis Three” were convicted in the deaths, but the Dixie Chicks and others claim they are innocent, the AP reports.
U.S. District Judge Brian Miller determined that Hobbs couldn’t establish “actual malice” stating that Natalie either knew the statements she made were false or that she made them with “reckless disregard” of the truth.