BYU Professor Holds Press Conference, Responds to Libel Lawsuit
BYU professor Benjamin Abbott held a Feb. 1 press conference at the Lindon Marina wharf in response to his nomination in a libel lawsuit.
Abbott and his legal team went public just hours after filing an anti-SLAPP statement and counterclaim regarding the lawsuit filed by Lake Restoration Solutions on January 10.
The lawsuit says that in his criticism of the Utah Lake Restoration Project, Abbott knowingly made false statements to influence public opinion. Lake Restoration Solutions is seeking at least $3 million in damages.
Whitney Hulet Krogue, one of Abbott’s attorneys, spoke first at the press conference.
“Professor Abbott was speaking in good faith on a matter of public interest,” Krogue said. “Under our Constitution and the constitutional guarantees of the United States Constitution and the Utah Constitution, what Professor Abbott said is fully protected whether he is right or wrong.”
Krogue expressed concern about the precedent this case could set for free speech.
“If we want to preserve the public’s right and the public’s courage to speak out on public issues, we cannot let (Lake Restoration Solutions) arm the justice system to silence or even discourage critics,” Krogue said. .
Abbott acknowledged that not everyone may agree with his findings on Lake Utah, but said he hopes people can be united in the commitment to free speech. and responsibility.
“What we need right now are not islands or a bigger shovel like the new Utah Lake Authority is offering,” Abbott said. “What we need are cool heads and leaders with vision and moral courage who can help our valley fulfill our sacred stewardship of this lake.”
People gathered to listen to BYU professor Ben Abbott’s press conference on the libel lawsuit in which he was named for speaking out against Lake Restoration Solutions’ Utah Lake Restoration Project. (Decker Westenburg)