The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has picked up its own win, but this victory is far less glitzy than the awards handed out during its Golden Globes ceremony: The HFPA has won a legal battle with former publicist Michael Russell. The Hollywood Reporter reports that a California Superior Court judge dismissed defamation claims made by Russell against the HFPA. Among other things, Russell also claimed the HFPA interfered with his recruiting attempts and methods. The judge ruled that the HFPA, who countersued Russell in February, was protected under free speech. “As most of the remaining claims concern employment issues, we are confident that we will remove them by demurrer or motion for summary judgment,” Joseph Campo, an attorney for HFPA, said in a statement. “This baseless complaint will not reach the jury.” UPDATED: Russell’s attorney issued the following statement to EW about the judge’s ruling, “[The] judge dismissed two minor claims … My clients look forward to having the eight pending claims for business torts and punitive damages resolved by a jury.”

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