The queen of grunge has moved from the stage to the stand, sued for allegedly libeling a lawyer on Twitter – an act known as “Twibel.”
In a 2010 tweet, Hole musician Courtney Love suggested her lawyer at the time, Rhonda Holmes, took a bribe when she backed out of a legal battle Love was waging with the managers of her late husband’s estate. Love was married to Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain from 1992 until his death in 1994.
A handful of Twibel cases have been filed in the past, but Love’s case is the first one that has made it to trial in the United States.
Love took the witness stand Wednesday, becoming emotional at times. She told the court she’s useless with computers – and thought she was just sending a personal message.
She called the tweet an opinion and deleted it soon after it was posted. She argued that the Internet is full of opinion and exaggeration.
Holmes’ attorney Mitchell Langberg said Love’s testimony affirmed her intent with the tweet.
“The jury’s really going to have to decide if there’s anything special about Twitter,” Langberg said. “When you make false statements a fact about someone that hurt their reputation, are you responsible for them, just like you would be anyplace else?”
If Love loses, the case could change Twitter forever – showing that 140 characters really can be held against you in a court of law. Attorney Brian Claypool, who is not affiliated with the case, thinks Love could find herself in trouble.
“This is a groundbreaking case. It’s gonna set the parameters,” he said.
Love’s testimony is expected to continue Thursday.