Katie Couric is being sued for $12 million for defamation.
Katie Couric and her director, Stephanie Soechtig, are being sued by the Virginia-based gun rights group Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) for the documentary Under the Gun. VCDL is claiming that Couric and Soechtig manipulated the footage to make it seem as though VCDL executive members were “totally stumped” by a question about background checks, whereas they had actually begun answering the question right away.
The complaint, filed with the Federal District Court in Richmond, asserts that the film was edited to include a fictional exchange in which the members of the group appear silent and stunned during their interview with Couric. Compared side by side to the video, the unedited audio recording indicates that the League members were able to answer the question as soon as it was asked.
You can also read the 62-page complaint document, which includes not only a transcript of the interview in question, but also the text of a statement in which Couric takes responsibility for the decision to add a pause “for dramatic effect.”
The group claims that this editing decision was malicious, using footage from the beginning of the shoot, when the VCDL members were told to remain quiet while the equipment was calibrated. They have also claimed that Couric and Soechtig used lighting effects to intentionally cast shadows over members of the VCDL. When shown in contrast to the anti-gun group members, the members of the VCDL appear darker and more nefarious.
The group, along with Federal Firearms Licensee Patricia Webb and attorney Daniel Webb, won’t stop at $12 million. An injunction to prevent further dissemination, distribution, and publishing of the film has also been filed.
Whether members of the film crew will also be on the hook for criminal charges remains to be seen, as Couric has admitted that they committed several gun-related felonies in Colorado and Arizona during the filming process.