[The following is the text of a news release from The Committee for the Scientific Investi

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[The following is the text of a news release from The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.] LAWSUIT AGAINST CSICOP DISMISSED A federal court in Washington, D.C has thrown out a lawsuit filed by self-proclaimed psychic Uri Geller against the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) and has authorized the imposition of monetary sanctions against Geller for prosecuting the case. In orders issued by Judge Stanley S. Harris, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia entered judgment on behalf of CSICOP and granted CSICOP's request that the Court impose sanctions on Geller for his prosecution of the lawsuit. Geller commenced the fifteen million dollar lawsuit in May of 1991 against CSICOP and James Rand, alleging that Geller was defamed by Randi in statements reported in The International Herald Tribune. In its motion to the Court seeking judgment on Geller's claims against it, CSICOP asserted that Geller had no legal or factual basis for his assertion that CSICOP should be held liable for Randi's alleged statements. In a declaration filed with the Court in Geller's lawsuit, CSICOP Executive Director Barry Karr stated that "I believe that CSICOP was made a defendant in this lawsuit solely for the purpose of harassment and intimidation, and in the hope that the lawsuit would dissuade CSICOP from encouraging and providing a forum for... the critical discussion and analysis of paranormal claims, particularly those asserted by Geller." CSICOP publishes on a quarterly basis the Skeptical Inquirer, a scholarly journal of articles and comment regarding claims of the paranormal and scientific controversies intended to inform interested scientists and scholars, the media and the general public on such matters and to publish skeptical and evaluative critiques of them based upon scientific principles and recognized concepts of creditable evidence. On numerous occasions, the Skeptical Inquirer has included articles that have examined and commented upon claims of paranormal powers asserted by Geller, many of which have called into question Geller's claims. Judge Harris's authorization of sanctions against Geller was made pursuant to a federal court rule that mandates the imposition of sanctions if litigation is "interposed for any improper purpose such as to harass or cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation," or if papers filed with the court are not "to the best of the signer's knowledge, information, and belief formed after reasonable inquiry...well grounded in fact...and warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law." Following notification of Judge Harris's orders, CSICOP Chairman Paul Kurtz commented, "This type of libel suit, even if ultimately unsuccessful, threatens to chill debate on scientific issues. If such obstacles as these are placed, unchecked, in the way of scientific research, and if one cannot question extraordinary claims, then a serious blow will be dealt to freedom of expression and of scientific inquiry." Kurtz continued, "We view this case as a serious challenge to our First Amendment rights, and we are thankful that Judge Harris chose to vindicate those rights." In addition, Kurtz observed, the judge's decision to impose sanctions against Geller "sends a stern warning to those who would utilize libel suits as a weapon to harass; such conduct can carry a heavy penalty."


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