April 1, 2024

Michael Gottlieb, a partner in Willkie’s Litigation Department, has been profiled in The New York Times for the work that he and others at Willkie have done to fight the spread of disinformation and viral conspiracy theories through defamation litigation. 

The article focused on Mike’s years of pro bono representation of victims of viral conspiracy theories, and his success in leading a series of high-profile lawsuits to combat them. It also highlighted Willkie’s work (led by Mike and partner Meryl Governski) in securing a $148.1 million verdict against Rudy Giuliani for defaming former Georgia elections workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, her daughter (Willkie was joined in the case by co-counsel at Protect Democracy and DuBose Miller LLC). 

“I’ve always despised bullies that pick on defenseless or seemingly defenseless people,” Mike told The New York Times. “There are so many ways to make your political points without endangering individual people’s lives.”

The article also highlighted the importance of Willkie’s work in fighting viral lies that threaten public discourse and democracy, and positioned Mike and the Willkie team among a group of lawyers at the forefront of the fight against disinformation. It noted his representation of the owner of a pizzeria targeted by the so-called “Pizzagate” conspiracy theorists and his work to vindicate the defamed brother of Seth Rich, a young Democratic National Committee staff member who was murdered in 2016. 

In addition, the profile noted Michael’s experience as a leading litigator and the ways his work for marquee corporate clients complements his pro bono advocacy. “I feel fortunate to have had a career where I’ve had a wide variety of cases and have a practice that works different skill sets and different parts of my brain,” he said. 

Michael Gottlieb is a partner in the Litigation Department, and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. He is Chair of the Crisis Management Group, and Co-Chair of the Media & First Amendment Practice Group and the Strategic Motions & Appeals Practice Group.

Read The New York Times article here (subscription may be required).

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