in Houston, Texas
Another election year defamation case: Brownsville lawyer sues opponent over statements in May primary
Thursday, Sep 13, 2012, 12:28PM CST
By Mike Cronin
gavel

A Brownsville lawyer is suing the judge who defeated her during the May Democratic primary for $3.3 million in damages.

Veronica Farias states in court documents that 138th District Judge Arturo C. Nelson “used his office and political influence to illegally disseminate information about her during a political campaign.”

The judge distributed information that had been expunged from state district court records because they lacked legal merit, Farias claims. Nelson committed that act “to humiliate, harass, slander and defame Farias),” according to the documents.

According to the Brownsville Herald:

The Texas Legislature enacted a law for the expungement of records to protect the reputation of falsely accused persons, the lawsuit states, to allow those persons to lead normal, productive and fruitful lives and careers.

The Code of Criminal Procedures also stipulates that a person who is an officer or employee of the state and who knows of an order expunging the records, commits an offense if he knowingly releases, disseminates or otherwise uses the records or files, according to the lawsuit.

Farias has requested a trial by jury.

Texas Watchdog reported on another election year defamation lawsuit in May. The Houston ad agency Rehak Creative Services claimed that state House candidate Ann Witt libeled the company via a website that chronicled campaign donations to Houston Rep. Jim Murphy, whom Witt lost to in the Republican primary for District 133. The case was dismissed on June 22.

And in Austin, Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, sued his GOP-primary opponent, former Texas Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones, for what he said was a false statement about him. That case remains pending.

Wentworth defeated Jones in May, but lost to the third Republican candidate, Donna Campbell, in a July runoff.

***
Contact Mike Cronin at mike@texaswatchdog.org or 713-228-2850. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelccronin or @texaswatchdog.

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