Dorsch, the USCF Treasurer, has accused Goichberg of committing a crime. This is called "libel per se". Under the law, this shifts the burden of proof so that if Goichberg were to sue Dorsch and the USCF, the burden would be on Dorsch to prove that Goichberg had committed this crime. Dorsch would lose immediately, because the crime which Dorsch alleged that Goichberg committed was that he raised both the entry fee and the prizes for the 1997 US Open in Orlando, Florida, but Goichberg had received the permission of both the Executive Director and the Policy Board to do this, and Dorsch was a member of that board. (Dorsch decided to make an issue of this in 1998, one year after the tournament was over.)
The law of "libel per se" is that if you make certain kinds of accusations, such as if you accuse a woman of being unchaste, she does not have to prove that she is chaste. She merely has to prove that you said that she is not. Your only defense under the law would arise if you can prove that she is a notorious prostitute. I suggest that you look this up in the law books, as I have many times.
In the case presented here, Goichberg would merely have to prove that Dorsch said that Goichberg is a criminal who steals money from the members. There is no doubt that Dorsch said that and Dorsch does not deny it. So, Goichberg would without doubt win in a court of law.
The interesting question is that since Dorsch is treasurer of the USCF and signed his accusations as "USCF Treasurer", could Goichberg successfully sue the USCF. I believe that he could and would win. The reprimand by the Ethics Committee may to some extent insulate the USCF from such a suit, however.
As an attorney, although not an expert in libel law, it is my understanding that if G sued D for libel, the burden would be on D to prove truth because he had accused Goichberg of a crime.
It is also my understanding that the facts alleged against Mr. Goichberg, if proven, would not constitute a crime. They might constitute grounds for a civil lawsuit against Goichberg by USCF, but they are not a crime.
No no no. The presumption of innocence only applies to the defendant in a court of law. If G sues D, D is the defendant and he is presumed innocent.
There is also the principle of freedom of speech. While I do not agree with Mr. Dorsch, he has a right to say what he chooses as long as it is not provably wrong.
As an attorney you should know that the defendant never has to prove anything. Though a civil case only has to be decided beyond a reasonable doubt, not beyond a shadow of a doubt as in a criminal case, it is the plaintiff that has to do the proving, not the defendant.
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