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Judge dismisses lawsuit against Alec Baldwin by family of slain Marine

The plaintiffs can still file an amended complaint in the matter. Baldwin's attorney called it "a victory for free speech."
Actor Alec Baldwin attends the Build Series on Oct. 21, 2019, in New York.
Alec Baldwin in New York City in 2019.Jim Spellman / Getty Images file

A federal judge in New York this week dismissed a $25 million defamation lawsuit against Alec Baldwin about comments regarding Jan. 6 filed by relatives of a Marine killed in Afghanistan, court records show.

The defamation lawsuit revolved around social media comments Baldwin made after Roice McCollum — a sister of slain Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum — posted a photo of someone in a "Make America Great Again" hat.

Baldwin had donated $5,000 to McCollum’s wife after the Marine was killed with 12 other service members in a 2021 bomb attack in Kabul.

In January 2022, Roice McCollum posted an Instagram photo of someone wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat at the Washington Monument on Jan. 6, 2021, and Baldwin lashed out at her on social media, according to the lawsuit.

“When I sent you the $ for your late brother, out of a real respect for his service to our country, I didn’t know you were a January 6th rioter,” Baldwin allegedly wrote in messages saved by the plaintiff, according to the lawsuit.

Roice McCollum has not been charged with any crime related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. She was in Washington but did not take part in the riot and did not enter the Capitol, and she was cleared by the FBI, the lawsuit says.

The judge said the family members suing Baldwin could still file an amended complaint.

A lawyer representing them did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and it's not clear whether an amended complaint will be filed.

The judge set a Sept. 12 deadline, and if none is filed, the case will be closed.

U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos wrote in his opinion that some of the defamation claims — including the one about "January 6th rioter" — were in private messages and not actionable as defamation. He found other comments were protected under the First Amendment.

Luke Nikas, an attorney for Baldwin, said Baldwin has the right to express his opinions about Jan. 6. "The dismissal of this case is a victory for the First Amendment," he said.

A lawsuit had previously been dismissed, and it was revived in September.