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Bryant Winery lawyer issues wandering letter filled with vague unsubstantiated claims and asks for a retraction. (Rejected)

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Full text: Bryant Winery Lawyer Letter (pdf) Screen Shot 2019-10-14 at 6.28.37 PM

Screen Shot 2019-10-14 at 6.28.47 PM



Perdue initial response emailed to attorney on October 14

Your demand for a retraction is vague, unspecified and rejected.

My articles, on the other hand, have raised numerous and substantial specific questions to which you have had no substantive response and no evidence, documents, data or other credible data.


My reporting is based primarily on court documents and multiple sources which corroborate Ms. Ridenhour’s court statements. Additional and more recent sources corroborate additional details. You have offered vague statements and assurances without substantiation.
Your letter reads very much like the legal demands I got as an investigative reporter in Washington D.C. for Jack Anderson, Dow-Jones and the Washington Post concerning clients I had written about and who were later indicted.
The first time I published something on this court case, you enabled the creation of an imaginary conspiracy when the only source I had was the federal PACER site.
You have enabled that delusional conspiracy and filed a court case based on claims of confidentiality that have already been discredited in another federal court. That’s not a solid platform on which to stand.


I stand by my articles and my sources.

A deeper dive parsing the lawyer’s letter

Given the end of the day arrival of the letter (email, 4:47 p.m., October 14) a further review turned up a number of items not mentioned in the response (above).


Unedited excerpts from the letter are reproduced below in italics

If it is demonstrably false then prove it

Please be aware that certain statements in your posts are false, in fact and/or by implication. Among others, the statements and implications that the Winery knowingly engaged in regulatory violations and the Winery filed a lawsuit against Ms. Ridenhour for an improper purpose are demonstrably false and seemingly serve no purpose other than to disparage and harm the Winery and its representatives.


The letter “forgets” to mention that the “false” statements were accurate reporting on court filings. Don’t complain if you have nothing specific and verifiable to back up your statements.

A PR exercise in parroting as-yet-unproven assertions in accurately reported court documents

[T]he Winery is in full compliance with all applicable regulations, continues to produce vintages recognized as amongst the Valley’s finest, and regretfully was compelled to file suit to ensure Ms. Ridenhour ceased breaching her contractual obligations (resulting in a stipulated order prohibiting future disclosures of confidential information by Ms. Ridenhour and those acting in concert with her).

Accurately reported from court documents and awaiting judge’s decision.


If you actually believe in the existence of some sort of delusional media conspiracy in my Bryant Family Vineyards reporting, then you need to put on a MAGA hat and take a hefty dose of clozapine.

Sidestepping the issue of the New York court’s discrediting of confidentiality claims

[a]lthough we are not counsel of record in Ms. Ridenhour’s lawsuit against the Bryants in New York, …

There is a very active and continuing lawsuit in New York. Whether it is dismissed or not, the fact that the Bryant attorneys there have discredited your confidentiality theory will remain.

Verbal “assurances” without proof are meaningless

I assure you that the inflammatory allegations related to financial impropriety and even fraud in securing a loan are false and outrageous.


“I assure you” fits into a public relations ploy without proof or credibility. That is for the judge to decide.

Devil is in the details

Indeed, my understanding is that the loan closed seamlessly last spring despite (rather than because of) the actions of Ms. Ridenhour.


Your “understanding” is not firsthand knowledge. There is no proof of that. This is a nice PR statement lacking credibility or verification.


  • Was the loan closed due to Ridenhour’s work?
  • Was the personal financial statement corrected?
  • Did the loan close with additional security offered by other assets from the Trust

Don’t put it in a court document of you don’t want it reported

[W]e request that you retract the aforementioned posts, cease publishing any other false or disparaging content related to the Winery, and allow the courts of law to adjudge the merits of these disputes, without passion, prejudice, or bias.


A journalist can only report accurately on what is in the public record.

Someone needs to review their Constitutional Law hornbook.

Accurate reporting of the public record is protected by the First Amendment. At least it was when I took ConLaw at the Cornell Law School. You are asking for voluntary prior restraint. That’s as reasonable as creating an imaginary conspiracy.

Blatant hypocrisy

Your own filings have made extensive disparaging comments about the defendant. Their filings consider those false as well. Your request is blatantly hypocritical.