US Appellate Court Dismisses Ugwuonye’s Libel Case Against SaharaReporters

Emeka Ugwuonye during one of his Nigerian trials
By SaharaReporters, New York

The Fourth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals in Washington, DC today threw out an appeal filed by Emeka Ephraim Ugwuonye, a controversial US-based attorney, against Omoyele Sowore, the publisher of SaharaReporters.

Mr. Ugwuonye’s case collapsed after he ignored the court’s order to file necessary documents to enable the appeal process to proceed.

Mr. Ugwuonye had filed the appeal after his initial defamation lawsuit was decisively dismissed late last year by a senior US District Judge, Peter J. Messitte. In the earlier ruling, Judge Messitte gave a comprehensive overview of the case in finding that Mr. Ugwuonye’s suit lacked merit. The judge ruled that the lawsuit stood on wobbly legs since the alleged libelous reports by SaharaReporters were substantially factual.

Mr. Ugwuonye, whose representation of the Nigerian embassy in some real estate deals is mired in controversy and legal dispute, had in 2009 filed a defamation lawsuit before the US District Court claiming that this website had libeled him. In addition, he asked the court to order SaharaReporters to pay $30 million for alleged assault, libel and slander in the website’s reports regarding his role in transactions where the Nigerian Embassy sold its properties in Washington, DC and Maryland. In an investigative exclusive, SaharaReporters revealed that Mr. Ugwuonye pocketed $1.55 million meant for the Nigerian embassy.

As the administrator of this website maintained, Mr. Ugwuonye’s lawsuit was filed with the goal of silencing SaharaReporters. Toward that end, the lawsuit included the host of SaharaReporters, a move meant to shut down the website’s domain name.  

Last December, Justice Messitte handed down a comprehensive ruling that eviscerated Mr. Ugwuonye’s lawsuit. In a judgment that touched on every aspect of Mr. Ugwuonye’s claims, the judge ruled that the reports by SaharaReporters were substantially true. He subsequently dismissed Mr. Ugwuonye’s case following a summary judgement motion.

In a typical response to his devastating legal loss, Mr. Ugwuonye circulated a letter online where he misrepresented the judgment, including making false claims that the judge had agreed that SaharaReporters slandered him. Then, in a move that a lawyer familiar with the facts of the case described as “bizarre,” Mr. Ugwuonye headed for the Circuit Court in DC to challenge Judge Messitte’s ruling.

Following his appeal, the Circuit Court convened a mediation conference over the case. During the mediation, the attorneys for SaharaReporters lawyers, Laurie Babinski and Bruce Brown, indicated their readiness to respond to Mr. Ugwuonye’s appeal in court.

However, the appeal became a non-event as Mr. Ugwuonye failed to file the necessary paperwork to enable him to proceed with the case after the conclusion of the mediation conference.

On March 21, 2013, the Circuit Court gave Mr. Ugwuonye a deadline of April 8 to file a disclosure form, appearance form and docketing statement. In making the order, the court indicated that Mr. Ugwuonye’s failure to comply would result in dismissal of his appeal. Mr. Ugwuonye’s failure to respond to the court order led to today’s dismissal of his lawsuit.

In a separate but related development, a case instituted by the Nigerian Embassy to recover the $1.5 million pocketed by Mr. Ugwuonye from real estate transactions where he represented the embassy has also reached an advance stage, with Mr. Ugwuonye practically abandoning his defense of the case.

Mr. Ugwuonye had reportedly confiscated the funds which represented tax refunds from the US Treasury. The US government refunded the money to the embassy because the embassy, as a sovereign entity, was exempt from paying US taxes. As SaharaReporters earlier reported, Mr. Ugwuonye, who received the refund in his capacity as the embassy’s attorney, decided to keep it, contending later that the Nigerian government owed him for prior legal tasks. Nigerian government officials have asserted that Mr. Ugwuonye was not owed any outstanding fees. Besides, a US-based Nigerian attorney told SaharaReporters that, even if the Nigerian government owed Mr. Ugwuonye, he would not have been able to keep the $1.5 million tax refund without approval by a US judge.

Two other cases filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Nigeria against Mr. Ugwuonye are still pending. One case is in regard to Mr. Ugwuonye’s illegal conversion of funds belonging to the Nigerian Embassy in the US.

In another case, a certain Mr. Sola Adeeyo, a former client of Mr. Ugwuonye’s has brought a case in Nigeria accusing Mr. Ugwuonye of stealing $94,000 retrieved from a settlement between the former client and the US government. The case is pending on appeal in Nigeria.

The Nigerian Embassy as well as Mr. Adeeyo have filed bar complaints against Mr. Ugwuonye at the Attorney Grievances Commission in Maryland. The commission could impose severe professional sanctions on Mr. Ugwuonye if it finds that he engaged in unethical practice to the detriment of his clients.
 

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How to help Emeka Ugwuonye

All the comments below are fair and truthful. They are given as good advice to Attorney Emeka Ugwuonye who should now read the handwriting on the wall and do the needful.

Saharareporters should itself be graceful in victory. The way to show that grace is for Sahareporters to give Emeka Ugwuonye a full page to write a convincing commentary on this matter. Sahareporters must then publish Emeka Ugwuonye's article without pre-conditions, except for one reciprocal condition.

That is, to show his own intention to tell the truth for the first time in his life, Emeka Ugwuonye must agree to caption his commentary on Sahareporters as follows: "MY TROUBLESOME UPBRINGING AND WHY I NOW STEAL AT WILL."

Incompetent “Attorney” lacking knowledge of Press Freedom...

... v Libel, kai!One would think that a 419er would’ve kept his head low to avoid this highly embarrassing blow to his name & career. His greed & ignorance of the law led him to believe that he could bring frivolous cases against SR, which he lost at both the lower & appeal levels. What’s next, Mr. Magoo? The US Supreme Court? Well, I'll tell you what’s next – the IRS will go after his assets in the US, the Nigerian Embassy for Grand Larceny plus damages & court cost, while the Nigerian govt should pursue his assets in Nigeria to recover further damages. As someone rightly said, this dude is finished. Since he can no longer practice law anywhere he better run back to his village square to hide under the “Gerdstapo.” Good riddance to bad rubbish.

IRS Rule No 1

Mr. Ugwuonye has no basis to defend the case against him by the Nigerian Embassy, as IRS rule number 1 is that an agent cannot negotiate a client's tax refund. Mr Lawyer, the refund was meant for Nigeria and not your personal pocket. you better give it up or the US Treasury will come after you and if they do you know what is coming next. You will be disbarred from practising in the US, so better do the noble thing.

Nigerian Embassy v. Emeka Ugwuonye ($1.55m theft)

Emeka Ugwuonye is quite brainless. He should have known the impossibility of trying to close down Saharareporters by a court order simply for reporting his theft of $1.55m belonging to the Embassy of Nigeria.

United States laws will never assist him to close down a news organization.

Perhaps Emeka Ugwuonye spent too many years in a forested village in Igboland before winning a visa lottery to come here.

On the facts of the Nigerian Embassy case, as it stand, Emeka Ugwuonye will most probably be dis-barred from the law profession because theft is infamous offence under the Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys in the United States.

Very funny! So, because

Very funny! So, because Sahara Reporters say so, it must be true? What a bunch of 'strange' people!

this guy looks like an alaye

even with tie, this man looks like an alaye.
he is adupe masqurading as a lawyer.

EMEKA IS FINISHED AND WILL GO TO JAIL

EMEKA UGWUONYE BELONGS TO JAIL.
A CRIMINAL WHO DOES NOT BELONG TO SOCIETY.

Don't be surprise. some of us

Don't be surprise. some of us western world are not better than the those we condemned. An example of the greed that faces Nigeria is Ugwuonye. If given the opportunity to rule Nigeria, he will milk the cow to death.

IF GOD BE WITH YOU....

BRAVO AND CONGRATULATIONS TO SR. IF GOD BE WITH YOU, NO ONE CAN DEFEAT NOR RUIN YOU. SR IS THE PRIDE OF THE REAL PEOPLE. A MOUTH PIECE FOR ALL. THIS NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL THIEF KNOWN AS UGWUONYE SO DEEPLY IN LOVE WITH MONEY AND ALL HIS COHOTS WILL SEE NO PEACE AS THEY INTENDED TO DESTROY THE MOUTH THAT TALKS FOR THE PEOPLE. A BIG SHAME TO YOU CRIMINAL UGWUONYE. SR PLS UPDATE US ON WHEN HE WILL START TO SERVE A LONG JAIL TERM (FOR ALL HE HAS COMMITED) PROBABLY IN USA WHERE HE CAN'T EASILY BRIBE HIMSELF TO FREEDOM.

We are waiting.

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Don't be too fast in your Judgement

It is not the end of the case anyway Barr. Emeka Ugwuonye is a lawyer so there is no need of asking if he is a lawyer or not, take note and we are yet to hear from him, this story is from SAHARAREPOTER alone hope to hear from Barr. Ugwuonye side of the story.

This is a story by

This is a story by Saharareporters against its greatest enemy, Emeka Ugwuonye,. It is a story of Saharareports by Saharareporters, for Sharareporters. What should I expect from a Saharareportocracy? LOL. If after 4 years, Emeka Ugwuonye is still fighting Saharareporters and the Nigerian Government, it means that all those things they reported in 2011 about Emeka going to jail are false. Maybe it is time for the journalist to realize that it got it wrong about this incredible freedom fighter.

SHAME ON YOU, GODSWILL AKPABIO. YOUR INVESTMENT IS IN VAIN.

Godswill Akpabio, you have been boasting that you were giving financial support to Emeka Ugwuonye to use and disgrace Sahara Reporters in the US court.

You keep on complaining that SR, Punch Newspapers and Premium Times have been attacking you and that you will make sure that they're destroyed.

How is it now? Have you heard the court judgement in the US?

Shame on you Godswill Akpabio, Common thief, Cultist and 419 governor.

Hard lashes for Emeka Ugwuonye

I have followed this case. I am not surprised it came to this. Emeka Ugwuonye never made any sense to me.

But instead of all this rigmarole, can the Judge not simply order that 24 hard lashes be given Emeka Ugwuonye everyday for 5 years, except at weekends?

Emeka Ugwuonye thievery looks genetic to me. He is reported here to have stolen again, this time, another $100,000 or so from one Sola Adeeyo.

In Jeddah, genetically bent thieves are flogged in the public square to teach the young ones what must NOT be done with a law license.

Is this Emeka Ugwuonye a lawyer?

Congratulations to Saharareporters for assuring the public disgrace of this crude and scrum-looking man.

Please keep us up to date on the $1.55million case when he'll be judicially ordered to refund it in full to the Nigerian Embassy in Washington D.C.

And if and when he is convicted in Nigeria, please let us know how many years he is given to spend in prison.

I believe prisons are built for criminals. Or am i wrong?

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