The suit was filed nearly five years ago by two Surinamese brothers who claim the television psychologist aired a segment on his show that depicted them as “guilty of committing criminal acts against Holloway.”
“The judge entered a ruling setting the case for trial for October 12,” Dr. Phil’s attorney, Charles Babcock.
Babcock had filed a motion to have the high-profile case thrown out of court, but the judge recently dismissed the request.
“Her reasoning was that there was fact issues precluding throwing the case out right now,” Babcock said. “Of course, it’s not a decision on the merits, but she’s going to let it go forward to trial.”
Holloway, from Mountain Brook, Ala., was 18 when she disappeared May 30, 2005, while on a trip to Aruba to celebrate her high school graduation. Her body has never been found.
Holloway’s classmates said they last saw her leaving a night club with Joran van der Sloot, then a 17-year-old Dutch honors student living in Aruba, and his two friends, brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe. All three young men were arrested, but they were later released without charge.
In the years since, the Kalpoe brothers have gone after Dr. Phil and CBS for defamation. They allege that a September 2005 episode of “The Dr. Phil Show” on the unsolved disappearance of the missing Alabama teen aired “misleading portions of interviews and statements,” with the intention of portraying that they were “guilty of committing criminal acts against Holloway.”
In a previous interview with AOL News, Babcock said he suspected there was more to the suit than meets the eye.
“I will tell you what is going on here, which is just crystal clear if you know how lawsuits work: This is being funded by somebody other than these two guys, Babcock alleged in the March interview. “Dr. Phil called for a boycott of Aruba, and this is being supported by the Aruban tourism industry and maybe some hotels, some casinos, maybe the government itself,” he said. “These guys are spending millions of dollars [on] this case, so this isn’t two young guys pursuing a claim. This is guys with larger backing.”
A spokesperson for the Aruba Tourism Authority told HuffPost that it is “not involved financially or otherwise in this lawsuit.”
The law firm representing the Kalpoe brothers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.