The Geller case has ended — the “psychic” is to begin a court-ordered payment of up to $120,000 to CSICOP USA.
Skeptics will be pleased to know that Uri Geller has paid the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal the first $40,000 of up to $120,000 as part of a settlement agreement for what the court described as a “frivolous complaint” made by Geller against CSICOP. The case began when Geller filed a $115 million suit against CSICOP and magician James Randi alleging defamation, invasion of privacy and tortious interference with prospective advantage. He filed suit because Randi has stated in an interview with the International Herald Tribune that Geller had “tricked even reputable scientists” with tricks that “are the kind that used to be on the back of cereal boxes when I was a kid. Apparently scientists don’t eat cornflakes anymore.”
CSICOP maintained that the suit was essentially a “gagging writ” designed to harass the organisation into inactivity. The court first ruled in favour of CSICOP in July 27 1993 but since then Geller has tried to overturn the decision by a series of court actions and appeals. He has now done his dash — evidently he was unable to foresee the outcome even though the decisions were not in sealed envelopes inside other sealed envelopes and concealed in remote places.
Paul Kurtz, CSICOP chairman said: “When the principles upon which CSICOP was founded are at stake, we are prepared to do battle all the way if it should prove necessary. We believe deeply in a free press, freedom of speech, and scientific enquiry, and the importance of dissent.” He characterised the Geller suit as the “kind of suit being used as a means of silencing debate on significant scientific issues.”
All in all it looks like a fair cop for CSICOP.
From a report in the Skeptical Enquirer, May/June 1995.