Today’s apology from Carole Cadwalladr to Arron Banks is not the end of her problems by any means. She has tried various legal tactics to get out of producing evidence to back up her claims that Banks had a secret relationship with the Russians and benefited from their backing. Something she has long intimated without providing any hard evidence.
So far the case has seen her try different stratagems to avoid her having to produce evidence. She’s failed to put off the inevitable. Banks succinctly summarised the situation, saying now “she needs to prove the allegation I lied about a secret relationship with the Russians over campaign cash. She has none. This is about the truth rather than restricting press freedom.” Carole has been raising money to defend her case by characterising her situation as being about freedom of the press. It isn’t, it is about truth.
All Carole has to do win the case is produce the evidence to back up her claim. For four years many people who were opposed to Brexit have had a psychological need to explain the vote away with magical thinking. Carole was their talisman. That’s why she is on target to crowdfund £175,000 to fight her case. The problem for her is that the National Crime Agency, with all its investigatory powers; ability to check bank records, phone records and interview witnesses who would only cooperate under threat of arrest, found no evidence. They formally cleared Arron Banks.
Carole does not accept this is the reality, Banks has asked her to withdraw the claims and apologise more than once – he isn’t in this for the money. She stubbornly refused to do so. The judge has now had enough of her procrastination, evasiveness and specious arguments. She now has to produce the evidence. The hearing on November 26 is the time for Carole to put up or shut up, the clock is ticking, her journalistic reputation is on the line…