The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has upheld a district court ruling that found allegedly defamatory statements made in an article published by a Wisconsin newspaper were substantially true and protected by Wisconsin’s judicial-proceedings privilege and that a hyperlink to a “related” article did not create a defamatory implication, according to the opinion.

In August 2018, the Wausau Daily Herald, a publication owned by Gannett Co., published an article titled, “Wisconsin financial advisor accused of violating a dead man’s trust, mishandling $3 million,” according to the opinion. The deceased man, Joseph Geisler, was described in the article as a frugal farmer who created a $3 million trust with help from financial adviser Thomas Batterman. The trust was to be distributed equally among four charities.

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