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David Beckham has lost an appeal to sue an American magazine over false claims he slept with a prostitute, because they are protected by US freedom of speech laws.
Bosnian Irma Nici had claimed she had sex with Beckham at Claridges Hotel in London but the 37-year-old star was able to show he was never at the hotel but at a hospital visiting his sick father Ted, who had suffered a heart attack.
Beckham, who was playing for US football club LA Galaxy at the time denied ever meeting Nici and sued In Touch magazine, which now accepts the story was untrue, for $25million in an LA court.
The case was initially thrown out by a Los Angeles judge in 2010 after he ruled the magazine article wasn't libelous and was in the public interest. But Beckham appealed.
His legal team had alleged that the magazine, which is part of the German owned Bauer Group, failed to produce critical documents to back up Nici's claims she slept with Beckham.
But this week the case was thrown out a second time after Judges at the Appeals Court in LA ruled the first ammendment to the US Constitution entitled Nici, 27, to free speech.
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A spokesman for Beckham told the Daily Mirror: 'This story has been proven to be false, the magazine now accepts it to be fabricated. However we will continue to prove the magazine showed purposeful intent.'
Becks is pursuing a separate claim against Nici who has not been seen or heard of for several months.