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Alec Baldwin sued for defamation by late Marine's family

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Alec Baldwin is being sued by the family of a U.S. Marine killed in Afghanistan, who allege Baldwin defamed them on Instagram after he donated money to them.

The widow and two sisters of Marine Lance Corporal Rylee J. McCollum — who was killed in 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan — filed the suit alleging Baldwin posted claims he knew were false about them being "insurrectionists," the lawsuit reads.

Baldwin allegedly made these posts after sending McCollum's sister, Cheyenne, a $5,000 check — a donation to help her brother's widow, Jiennah. The family was raising money for Jiennah, who gave birth to her child in September, after her husband died, according to The Associated Press.

In January, another of McCollum's sisters, Roice McCollum, posted on Instagram a photo of demonstrators at the Washington Monument January 6, 2021, to mark the "one-year anniversary of her attendance at the Washington, D.C. demonstration," the suit reads.

Baldwin privately messaged her on the social media platform and asked if she was the same woman he had donated to. After she confirmed she was the sister of McCollum, Baldwin called her an "insurrectionist," telling her to "own it," the suit alleges.

"Baldwin plainly ignored Roice's denial of rioting," the lawsuit reads. While Roice was present at the demonstration, she "did not take part in, nor did she support or condone the rioting that erupted," and she was never detained or charged, the lawsuit says.

Baldwin told Roice he was going to repost her photo on his Instagram. Within 20 minutes of him sharing it, Roice began to get hostile, aggressive, hateful messages from Baldwin's fans, according to the suit. She alleges Baldwin chimed into the comments, calling her an "insurrectionist."

The McCollum family is suing Baldwin for actual and punitive damages.

In a statement to CBS News, a lawyer for the McCollums said as a former Marine infantryman turned Navy JAG prosecutor, he finds Baldwin's actions "especially deplorable."

"He used his expansive social media reach to drag the McCollums through the mud, including Lance Corporal McCollum's legacy," said Joseph N. Casas, managing partner and chief litigator for Casas Law Firm.

CBS News has reached out to a lawyer for Baldwin and is awaiting response.

The actor and father of seven is embroiled in an ongoing investigation into an on-set shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded Joel Souza in October when Baldwin fired a prop gun while filming the movie "Rust" in October 2021.

Earlier this month, he turned over his cellphone to authorities for the investigation, the Santa Fe Sheriff's Office announced last week. Authorities said Baldwin may have discussed the film's production on the phone months prior to the incident.

Investigators will gather information from the phone, including photos, text messages, social network private messages, contacts, recent call history, GPS data and other files before providing any evidence to the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office.

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