Janša Faces Retrial in “Washed-up Prostitutes” Defamation Case

By , 02 Jun 2021, 11:15 AM Politics
Janša Faces Retrial in “Washed-up Prostitutes” Defamation Case Twitter

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STA, 1 June 2021 - A retrial started at the Celje District Court on Tuesday in which Prime Minister Janez Janša is accused of defaming two journalists, whom he called "washed up prostitutes". This comes after the court's suspended prison sentence for Janša was annulled on appeal.

Janša said today that he stood by the original defence statement that he had given in the first trial in 2018 over the controversial tweet posted in March 2016.

Janša's Twitter post read: "The FB page of the public house is offering cheap services by washed up prostitutes Evgenija C. and Mojca P.Š. One for 30 euros, the other for 35. #PimpMilan".

In a recording of the statement given at the time and played at the court today, Janša said that the accusations against him were absurd, and that the tweet from March 2016 was seen only by about 100 people.

He said that TV Slovenija reporter Eugenija Carl, in her report on members of the Facebook group Legion of Death, run in March 2016, had told a series of lies about members of his party, the Democrats (SDS).

He argued that this happened under the mentorship of Mojca Šetinc Pašek, who was the editor of the news desk at the public broadcaster at the time.

Carl and Šetinc Pašek are the persons to whom the initials from the tweet refer to.

Janša said in his original statement that that Carl's report was "the final straw", adding that she and Šetinc Pašek had been spreading hatred towards those who thought differently.

He does not believe that the two journalists recognised an allegation of sexual prostitution in his tweet, while reproaching them for years of alleged negative reporting about the SDS.

In the original statement, Janša also assessed that it was him and not the journalists who had suffered a pogrom over the tweet.

Carl and Šetinc Pašek also stuck to their original statements, in which the former said that Janša tweet was a grave insult and not criticism of journalist work.

According to Carl, it was about public humiliation and insulting, and Janša did this on purpose. She rejected his remark that the tweet was seen by only 100 as evasive.

Back in 2018, Šetinc Pašek rejected Janša's assessment that her reports were insulting and demeaning, adding that Janša had hurt her as a woman, and that she understood his tweet as a threat against her journalist work.

She also rejected Janša's remark that she had been politically appointed at the editor post, adding that Janša had been exerting severe pressure on journalists and that she could not believe he was capable of such a repulsive post.

Janša's lawyer Franci Matoz presented today 25 pieces of evidence, and some additional evidence was also presented by the journalist's lawyer, on which the court will now deliberate

The trial is expected to continue on 29 June without Janša's presence.

Carl told the STA that today's hearing had clearly shown that the defendant would try to discredit and disqualify her work and present himself as the victim.

Šetinc Pašek added that such was the case also during the first trial, when Matoz produced evidence that had nothing to do with the insulting tweet.

Originally, the Celje District Court sentenced Janša to three-month suspended prison sentence on one-year probation. He was also ordered to pay for the costs of the entire procedure related to the defamatory tweet.

In June 2019, the Celje Higher Court quashed the ruling as it found that an unauthorised person had appointed a substitute lay magistrate following a recusal request, and ordered a retrial by a completely different panel.

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