Oprah On Trial! Judge Denies Her Attempt To Dismiss Lawsuit

Mar. 17 2010, Published 9:00 a.m. ET

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What Oprah Winfrey wants, Oprah Winfrey gets! But not always. Although she is known as one of the most powerful and influential women ever, she still is caught up in the judicial system, can report.

The daytime talk show queen is being sued for defamation by Lerato Nomvuyo Mzamane, former headmistress at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. Winfrey's request for dismissal of the case was recently denied.

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In 2007, Winfrey's school in South Africa was at the center of a sex-abuse scandal in which dorm matron, Virginia Makopo, was charged with 13 counts of indecent assault, assault and criminal injury against six girls at the academy.

During a news conference about the scandal, Winfrey insinuated that Mzamane was not trustworthy.

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Mzamane now lives in Kenya and claims that because Winfrey assailed her character, it was almost impossible for her to get work for nearly a year, driving her to hire United States based attorney Timothy McGowan to sue Winfrey.

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Oprah attempted to have the case thrown out, but her request was denied on Monday by U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno who concluded that the statements Winfrey made were "capable of defamatory meaning".

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A trial has been set for March 29.

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"I feel that the girls were placed in an atmosphere where they were taught to be fearful and they were taught to, literally, be silenced," Winfrey said regarding the 2007 incident.

"And so, when you remove the systems and put in a different kind of leadership, all that will change."

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Winfrey's power attorney, Charles L. Babcock, issued a statement regarding the case saying, "Oprah and Harpo await the opportunity to present the case in court."

Mzamane's attorney, McGowan, said, "I spoke with Winfrey's attorney this morning. We both agreed. We're both ready for trial."

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Stay tuned to for all the newest details on Winfrey's case.


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