The Falwell v. Flynt Trial: A Chronology

October 1983
Hustler Magazine publishes a Campari "ad parody" in its November 1983 issue that describes Reverend Jerry Falwell's "first time": incest in an outhouse with his mother.
October 31, 1983
Falwell files a complaint in United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia alleging that Hustler Magazine, in its November issue, defamed him and intentionally inflicted emotional distress.
November 15, 1983
The Moral Majority, a fundamentalist organization headed by Falwell, sends out mass mailings to its 500,000 members describing the Hustler parody.  A second mailing, to 27,000 "major donors," includes a copy of the Campari ad.
January 30, 1984
Plaintiff files its amended complaint against Hustler.
February 1984
The Campari parody ad is republished in the March 1984 issue of Hustler Magazine.  Flynt announces that he will seek the Republican nomination for president and enters the New Hampshire primary.
June 1984
Flynt is deposed at a federal prison in North Carolina, where he is serving time for contempt of court.  Bearded, full of bedsores, and probably in an unstable mental state, Flynt offers vulgar, flippant, and outrageous answers to the questions from Falwell's attorney, Norman Grutman.
December 3, 1984
The trial opens in federal district court in Virginia.  A defense motion to exclude the deposition of Larry Flynt is denied.
December 8, 1984
Court's charge to the jury, and verdict of the jury in favor of Defendants Hustler Magazine, Inc. and Larry Flynt on claim of libel, and in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendants Hustler Magazine, Inc. and Larry Flynt on claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress.  The jury awards compensatory and punitive damages on claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress.
April 19, 1985
Hustler's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict is denied.
August 5, 1986
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirms the judgment against Hustler for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
November 4, 1986
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in banc, denies Hustler's petition for rehearing, with dissenting opinions.
December 2, 1987
The Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the case of Hustler v. Falwell.  Norman Grutman argues the case for Falwell, while Alan Isaacman argues for Hustler.
February 24, 1988
The Supreme Court, on a 8 to 0 vote, overturns the Virginia jury's verdict against Hustler.  Writing for the Court, Justice Rehnquist says the "First Amendment prohibits such a result in the area of public debate about public figures."
January 10, 1997
Jerry Falwell and Larry Flynt appear together on the Larry King show and engage in surprisingly friendly conversation about their trial.  Soon afterwards, Falwell visits Flynt in his Beverly Hills office and the two men begin a friendship.
May 15, 2007
Jerry Falwell dies of a heart attack at age 73.

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