Recent Legal Developments

James Randi --- Wizard ((no email))
Sun, 11 Dec 1994 09:34:00 -0500

Last Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington ruled against "self-
styled psychic" Uri Geller and said that he must pay the $149,000 sanction
decided against him for having brought frivolous litigation against me and
the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal
(CSICOP). In 1991, Geller brought a defamation suit for $15,000,000 (of
course not a realistic figure, but that's a little game played by lawyers)
and then confidently declared on an American TV show that his psychic powers
enabled him to predict that he would win the case. So much for Mr. Geller's
predictive abilities.

In its ruling, the court stated that "Since Geller's rise to prominence in
the early 1970s," I had been "exposing various Geller feats as the
fraudulent tricks of a confidence man." The court also referred to Mr.
Geller as a "litigious person." Their words, not mine!

Geller's primary lawyer was suspended from the practice of law on ethical
grounds (not connected with this case) half-way through the proceedings, and
another stepped in. The latter was also the lawyer for Geller's friend
Eldon Byrd, who brought a libel case against me last year (for only
$13,000,000, this time) and was awarded zero.

The record to date:

(1) Prometheus Books, also sued by Geller, was instead awarded $20,000,
which Geller paid.

(2) Geller sued Timex Watch Company for millions; he lost.

(3) In France, a case Geller brought against magician Gerard Majax (of
course for millions) was dismissed.

(4) Two other multi-million-dollar cases brought against me by Geller in
this country were dismissed.

(5) In Hungary, a newspaper and I were sued (need I add, for millions?); I
was dropped out of the case immediately, and the newspaper had to pay the
equivalent of $25 to Geller as a wrist-slap.

(6) I could not afford to defend a case Geller brought against me in Japan
for millions and millions of yen, the court lowered the charge from "libel"
to "insult," I lost the case by default, and the judge gave Geller one-third
of one-percent of what he'd demanded; since the charge of "insult" is not
recognized here in the U.S., I cannot be forced to pay.

(7) On Friday, Geller's case against CSICOP and me was dismissed, and
sanctions of $149,000 must be paid by Geller to CSICOP.

(8) The Byrd case against me gave Byrd zero dollars on all three counts.

(9) In January, further arguments will be made in U.S. Federal Court that
Mr. Geller should pay more sanctions.

Hey, our side is doing just great!

Please understand that this most recent development does not deal with any
settlement I will eventually have with Geller in connection with the case
brought against me in Washington. CSICOP and I are quite separate entities
in these matters, no CSICOP legal funds -- whether solicited from supporters
or not -- have been used in my defence, and the James Randi Fund still
exists to assist me in seeing this matter to a close. I still have heavy
legal costs and will expend more money before this is all finished. There
has been a misunderstanding with some persons that contributions made to the
CSICOP defence fund were also used in my defence; that is not so. While
I've made every attempt to individually thank each person and group that has
contributed to the James Randi Fund, I had no way of knowing the identity of
those who believed they were helping me when they gave to CSICOP. Sorry.

I'll be away in the UK until Wednesday. I'll report to you all on what
happens there. The final battle is coming up....


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