The Kentucky judge overseeing separate multimillion-dollar defamation lawsuits by a teen whose photographed face-off with a Native American in Washington went viral in January is no stranger to high-profile free speech fights.

A defamation case by a former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader prompted Senior Judge William O. Bertelsman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky to strip an online website of immunity for libelous third-party commentary in 2011. Six years later, he gutted a Kentucky ethics law on First Amendment grounds in a case that is still on appeal.

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