A federal judge has thrown out a charter school’s claim that the American Civil Liberties Union defamed it when the school filed a lawsuit that accused the school of using public money for religious purposes, according to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.

U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank ruled that Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, often known as TiZA, is a public entity and therefore can’t sue for defamation — and that even if it could, it hadn’t proved that the ACLU’s statements were false and were made with “actual malice.”

The ruling Wednesday sets the stage for a hearing Jan. 8 on a motion by the Inver Grove Heights, Minn., school to have the civil liberties group’s suit thrown out.

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