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Richard Simmons ordered to pay $130K in legal fees to 'National Enquirer' attorneys

By Ray Downs
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Richard Simmons ordered to pay $130K in legal fees to 'National Enquirer' attorneys
Fitness guru Richard Simmons laughs with the crowds that have come to exercise with him at the Family Expo in St. Louis on April 16, 2000. Simmons has withdrawn from public life over the years and last year sued two publications for saying he had done so to undergo gender reassignment surgery. File Phhoto by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

March 13 (UPI) -- Richard Simmons was ordered to pay $130,000 in legal fees to attorneys for the National Enquirer and Radar after his defamation lawsuit against the publications was thrown out of court.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory Keosian's decision this month was lower than the requested $220,000, which Simmons' lawyers described as a "billing fiesta," SFV Media reported.

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The decision comes after Simmons sued the National Enquirer and Radar last year for publishing stories that claimed Simmons had withdrawn from public life to undergo gender reassignment surgery.

Although Simmons said the allegations were false and were made by a disgruntled former employee, Keosian threw the case out on grounds that calling somebody trangender doesn't necessarily defame that person.

"This court finds that because courts have long held that a misidentification of certain immutable characteristics do not naturally tend to injure one's reputation, even if there is a sizeable portion of the population who hold prejudices against those characteristics, misidentification of a person as transgender is not actionable defamation absent special damages," Keosian wrote in a Sept. 1 ruling.

Simmons is appealing the dismissal.

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