Actor James Woods has cleared the first hurdle in his bid to unmask an anonymous Twitter user who called him a "cocaine addict", sparking a defamation lawsuit.
The star of films such as Once Upon a Time in America, Casino and Nixon wants to identify the pseudonymous Abe List (@abelisted), and is also seeking $10m worth of damages from the user, according to the New York Times.
Abe List has so far been able to preserve anonymity by sending a lawyer to court on their behalf. Twitter has also resisted efforts to identify the individual by citing the First Amendment.
But Abe List's anonymity could now be vulnerable after judge Mel Red Recena of the Superior Court this week denied a motion filed by Abe List's lawyers to strike the case, giving Woods the impetus to pursue his case.
Woods' original complaint, filed by his lawyer Michael Weinsten, said: “Woods intends to unmask and reveal AL for the liar he is." It continued: "AL’s reckless and malicious behavior, through the worldwide reach of the Internet, has now jeopardized Woods’s good name and reputation on an international scale."
In a statement provided by his lawyer, and quoted by the New York Times, Woods said: “The cruelty of having one’s reputation sullied by an anonymous coward is agonizing... Twitter users beware: You are not above the law."
Abe List's profile is now locked with the bio reading: "Preserving this account but making it inaccessible because of vindictive legal bullying & documented concerns about dangerous angry threats."