Thursday, December 22, 2016

Ky. state senator wins defamation suit against rival whose television ad portrayed him as a drug dealer

A state senator in Winchester, Ky. (Best Places map), has won a defamation lawsuit against a former rival for running false political ads against him during the 2014 election, Nick Storm reports for cn|2's "Pure Politics." Republican Sen. Ralph Alvarado sued R.J. Palmer, then the leader of the Senate's Democratic minority, for a television ad that "essentially cast Alvarado as a drug dealer." A jury on Wednesday awarded Alvarado $200,000.

The ad "used courtroom video from 2010 carefully spliced together to cast Alvarado, who unsuccessfully challenged the Senate Democratic floor leader for the seat in 2010, in a negative light," Storm writes. "In the 30-second advertisement, a defendant addresses a judge in a Montgomery County courtroom in November of 2010 on a drug charge. The ad cuts to a back and forth between the defendant who was arrested for attempting to traffic $3,000 worth of prescription pills. The original court complaint cited falsehoods in the ad including 'deliberately editing video to change the context ad facts involved and also by deliberately ignoring easily-obtainable facts that would disprove the claims made in the advertisement in question'.”

Palmer's ad implied that Alvarado, "a medical doctor, was 'getting rich off addiction' by unlawfully prescribing $3,000 worth of oxycodone to a criminal defendant," Adam Beam reports for The Associated Press. "Alvarado said the footage was altered, adding the defendant had a valid prescription." Alvarado also sued Palmer's political consultant, Dale Emmons, for defamation, but that case was settled in March when Emmons sent Alvarado a written apology.

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