Pras Michel of The Fugees and his own "Ghetto Superstar" fame received a minor W from an appellate court on Monday (Mar. 7). According to The Hollywood Reporter, an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the rapper would have another crack at proving actual malice in his defamation lawsuit against the New York Post and that the Post's defense of information placed on a gossip page being interpreted as opinion was not valid grounds for dismissal.

Back in October of 2014, Pras filed the $30 million defamation suit against the Post for the publication's report that the rapper was a "no-show" at a charity event and "bailed on his own 9/11 benefit concert." The report was featured on the Post's own Page Six, a fact that Eleventh Circuit Judge Stanley Marcus found irrelevant in his ruling.

"First, that the article appeared on Page Six — a well-known gossip column — does not require us to conclude that reasonable readers would interpret the reporting of facts on the page to be statements of opinion," Marcus wrote. "While it is surely true that a reader would not expect to encounter the type of hard-hitting investigative journalism that might appear on the front page of The New York Times or the Washington Post, the mere placement of a story in a particular section of the paper is not enough to categorically preclude it from a defamation action."

While this finding does preclude the Post from creating a "liability-free-zone" as Pras's attorney Michael Gottlieb puts it, it doesn't seal up a victory for the rapper by any means. As is the case with public figure defamation suits, Pras will have to prove that the Post acted with actual malice, or purposefully published the false information with intent to harm or blatantly disregarded the truth. That the initial Post story included source attribution suggests that the paper fulfilled some degree of due diligence in substantiating the report and will make Pras's case all the more difficult to prove.

We will continue to update this story as news develops.

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