Federal appeals court says former WVC mayor didn’t defame anyone in articles he wrote under fake name

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SALT LAKE CITY — A federal appeals court says former West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder did not defame a man when he penned articles under a fake name.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling in Chris Hogan’s lawsuit against Winder, who penned articles critical of Hogan for the Deseret News under the name “Richard Burwash.”

“Largely because the articles’ critical statements are explained by their context, we agree with the district court’s conclusion that the articles were neither defamatory nor otherwise tortiously offensive,” Judge Timothy Tymkovich wrote.

Read the 10th Circuit Court opinion here:


Winder confessed to writing a series of articles for the Deseret News under a pseudonym, claiming the city was not getting enough positive press. He apologized and was heavily criticized by the West Valley City Council and others.

1 Comment

  • Finny Wiggen

    He was heavily criticized by KSL… that is really about it.
    The rest of us all understood that he was doing something that is an American tradition going back to Benjamin Franklin. Using a pen name to write newspaper articles is neither dishonest, nor unethical.

    The KSL coverage of this story is one of the main reasons that my family no longer takes their news organization seriously, or watches them.

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