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‘Judge Judy’ sues parent company of National Enquirer, InTouch Weekly for defamation

Judge Judy Sheindlin

NAPLES, Fla. — “Judge Judy” is in court again -- but this time, she is the plaintiff, not the presiding magistrate.

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“Judge Judy” Sheindlin sued Accelerate360 Media, the parent company of the National Enquirer and InTouch Weekly, for defamation on Monday in a Southwest Florida court, Deadline reported. The former family court judge claimed that a story that ran in the publications falsely claimed that she was trying to assist the Menendez brothers in getting a retrial after they were convicted of killing their parents, according to The Associated Press.

The lawsuit was filed in circuit court in Collier County, Florida, by Sheindlin and her attorney, Eric George, according to the news organization.

Sheindin, 81, has appeared in more than 7,200 episodes of “Judge Judy,” a syndicated reality television show that aired between 1996 and 2021. During episodes of the show, the former judge tackled small claim cases in a court setting, according to IMDb.com.

According to court records, the story was first published on InTouch Weekly’s website on April 10. The headline read, “Inside Judge Judy’s Quest to Save the Menendez Brothers Nearly 35 Years After Their Parents’ Murder,” the AP reported.

A version of the story later appeared in the National Enquirer, a sister publication to InTouch Weekly.

Sheindlin is not asking for a specific amount of damages but said in a statement that it would be a steep amount, Deadline reported.

“When you fabricate stories about me in order to make money for yourselves with no regard for the truth or the reputation I’ve spent a lifetime cultivating, it’s going to cost you,” Sheindlin said in a statement.

Sheindlin said she has said nothing about the Menendez case, the AP reported.

Her 20-page lawsuit speculated that both publications used statements in a Fox Nation docuseries made by “Judi Ramos,” a woman identified as an alternate juror in the first Menendez trial. According to court documents, the statements were misattributed to the television judge.

“The article was unequivocally false,” Sheindlin’s lawsuit states.

There was no immediate comment from Accelerate360, according to the AP.

Sheindlin, who has hosted “Judy Justice” since 2021, has tangled with the Enquirer before.

In 2017, the newspaper retracted and apologized for stories that falsely claimed she suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and depression and had cheated on her husband, the AP reported.

Sheindlin said her lawsuit was filed to clear her reputation and make a point.

“When you’ve done it multiple times, it’s unconscionable and will be expensive,” Sheindlin told Deadline. “It has to be expensive so that you will stop.”