Shepherd Threatens Lawsuit.

Jason Shepherd through his attorney, has threatened to sue Blog For Democracy unless they take down a post. (Hat Tip: Andre)

On Tuesday, Shepherd took aim at a website called “Blog for Democracy,” which describes itself as a group blog that launched in 2004 to cover “progressive” politics in Georgia. In a Monday comment on that blog by Melanie Goux, who serves on the board of The Fulton County Arts Council, Goux remarks on how long it took Shepherd to change his name and also comments on Shepherd’s wife, Manuela, a native of Germany.

Writes Goux: “This means for almost 20 years, Jason went about daily life under an assumed (anglo sounding) surname, until Mr. Goldfarb was ready to marry his mail order bride. Given his history, someone should probably check on Mrs. Shepherd.”

In a letter sent Tuesday to Goux, Shepherd’s Marietta attorney Steven Ellis called the blog libelous for “imputing that Mr. Shepherd is currently committing physical violence against his wife.”

“This imputation is completely false,” the letter states. “Falsely implying Mr. Shepherd is committing a crime is sufficient to prove Libel Per Se under standards set forth in Georgia case law.

“Furthermore your statement concerning Mrs. Shepherd being a ‘mail order bride’ constitutes both the tort of invasion of privacy by publicity which places one in a false light in the public eye and Libel Per Se. Mrs. Shepherd is not, nor ever was, a mail order bride as you claim,” Ellis writes.

Ellis is demanding an immediate retraction of both statements to be posted on the Blog for Democracy site “or suit will be filed against you.”

52 comments

  1. Chris says:

    Sorry – if you can’t stand having you or your wife called names you have no business running for office. Is it fair? hell no. However that’s the level politics have devolved in this country, and you have no expectation that you will be immune.

    • ChuckEaton says:

      My guess the blogger will end up taking the libelous comment about his wife down. Public figures have a very high standard to attain on a defamation claim – actual malice, but I doubt the courts would consider the wife of a person running for State Rep. to be a public figure. From a legal standpoint, it’s interesting, since the comment was made about Jason, but it involved his wife.

    • Red Phillips says:

      I am no legal expert, but it seems to me that it is one things to say something like “Jason Shepherd is a low down snake in the grass,” something you do set yourself up for when running for office, and to insinuate he is beating his wife, which is an allegation that is either true or it isn’t. Where there may be legal wiggle room here is that the blogger could say it was in jest and she wasn’t actually suggesting spousal abuse (which the way it reads to me is probably true.)

      But that said, legal standards are one thing and normal rules of behavior and decorum are another. It was clearly an inappropriate and out of line thing to say, and is an example of our political culture that demonizes the opponent. People on the other side assume “JS must be a bad dude because he supports bad political policies. So it’s alright if I step over the line and smear him because he’s a bad guy and deserves it.” This kind of stuff happens all the time on both sides and fair-minded people should denounce it. The focus should be on the issues and not on “the politics of personal destruction.”

      • Erick's Mortal Enemy says:

        Question:

        If Jason was sooooooo offended, then why did “the blogger” (who, as I understand it, now has a name) hear about this “threat to sue” from the mass media, rather than, oh, say, um, SHEPHERD’S ATTORNEY????

        It’s media posturing. Seriously?

  2. Herb says:

    Shepherd has handled this whole thing impeccably. This will for sure be the only Democrat-held seat that falls to the GOP in GA this year.

  3. Jeff says:

    Jason and I talked yesterday, and as I put out on my twitter and FB, I’m now on his side on the abuse issue. Hearing the full story, it was clear he handled it in much the same way I would have.

    On the “mail order bride” issue, it is absolutely low and should be denounced. That said, if we accept Jason’s legal standard here, are not MANY of us guilty of “the tort of invasion of privacy by publicity” re: Deal’s family? Now, in Deal’s case, the stuff we’ve been discussing is documented, but it seems like Deal could try to build something there – and Lord knows, he is slipperier than Ray McBerry when it comes to ducking responsibility.

    • Lady Thinker says:

      Very true, deal is slipperier than McBerry on the responsibility issue and very forgetful when it is convenient.

      • Tiberius says:

        You forget he old saying, “never get in an argument with a drunk or a fool.”
        Now his whole campaign is defined by this.

  4. Tiberius says:

    Jason needs to develop a thicker skin and focus on the 10,700 voters who will show up in November in his district. Only 2 or 3 of who have heard of this blogger from Midtown.

    He is in a district that is 40% AA and Barnes is popular there with whites and blacks. He should have bigger worries on his mind.

    Charging a blogger with libel?! The new pet lawsuit of the decade. All this will do is clogg the courts more and start a whole new kind of law practice.

    If Jason gets elected, can he talk about tort reform and limiting the effects of lawsuits and the power of courts seriously?

  5. macho says:

    I guarantee you Melanie Goux is one of the self-righteous liberals that drive around with “COEXIST” stickers on the back of their cars. They are all about peaceful dialog, understanding and coexisting; until you disagree with them, then the hateful venom comes out.

    I for one, don’t think it’s at all funny to refer to one’s wife as “mail order.”

      • macho says:

        Touche, but bringing a guy’s wife into the argument and publicly calling her a mail order bride is pretty low. I’ll be interested to see if Shep prevails, and Mel is forced to keep the post of her blog. If referring to someone as if she’s a product from a catalog, isn’t defamatory, then at what point would it cross over into defamation.

        • Tiberius says:

          its low but is it illegal? That is the question. A variance on the old question it may not be illegal but it isnt right.

          • Andre says:

            To echo some of the sentiments in this thread, elections are not about which candidate leads the most perfect life.

            Elections are about ideas and making the case to voters that one candidate will best represent their constituents’ views in the halls of government over the other candidate.

            The politics of personal destruction has no place in any campaign.

            • Erick's Mortal Enemy says:

              Then kindly inform the GOP to stop doing it as well.

              Oh, and maybe Mel’s comment was out of line, but exposing truths that may not be preferred to be released by the candidate—sorry Charlie, watch me care.

  6. Doug Grammer says:

    Point 1. Shepherd hasn’t sued. He wanted the post taken down and he got that within 24 hours.

    Point 2. People are talking about his race. He’s taken a cheap shot and turned it into earned media.

    http://www.mdjonline.com/view/full_story/9697012/article-Shepherd-s-lawyer-calls-blog-attacks-libelous?instance=home_news_bullets

    Point 3. Newt once told me “I don’t care what they say about me, just spell my name right in the paper.” Jason is getting his name spelled correctly.

    Point 4. Rep. Johnson must be worried to dig this up and try to use it. It was a sleazy move, IMO. I guess he didn’t want people discussing his record, or lack thereof.

    • Progressive Dem says:

      Newt’s cavalier attitude about his personal conduct with his wives and lovers cost him his political career. I guess Newt is happy the press managed to spell his name correctly in all those stories.

      • Doug Grammer says:

        He won relection for congress every time he ran. It took him 3 tries to get in. He resigned after we lost seats in the House. Get your history right.

        • bluedogdem says:

          Doug, get your history right. Newt started cheating with his current wife when his ext wife had cancer. What a great social conservative.

        • Progressive Dem says:

          After his 2nd wife told him she was diagnosed with MS, Newt told her that he was in love with a staffer and soon-to-be 3rd wife. He’s a real stand-up guy.

          • bluedogdem says:

            The sad thing is the GOPers will take up for him and say that Newt is one of the greatest Social Conservative that has ever lived. Especially if he runs for president. Look at what these idiots(GOPers) keep saying about Deal. These people kept saying during the runoff that Deal was not conservative and a crook. NOW these same people are saying vote for Deal and donate to his campaign.

  7. AthensRepublican says:

    Sounds like Bobby Kahn’s slimy playbook on character assassination. Hopefully will backfire and Jason adds another seat to the majority under the Gold Dome. Looks like they are pulling the same garbage against Michael Harden which won’t work. And the charge against Michael from the Democrats is that he was born out of wedlock.

    • Erick's Mortal Enemy says:

      No, that’s not the charge. But thanks for playing. More accurately would be the fact that Michael X has been misrepresenting himself. Talk to his purported family. From what I hear, they don’t think they’re related to him.

      And Kahn has nothing to do with any of this, BTW

      • bowersville says:

        Bobby Kahn & Roy Barnes must be the biggest bogey men in the history of Georgia politics and cause a huge ripple effect of fear in order to justify and attribute every adversity in Georgia Republican politics to them.

        From influencing the AJC, WSBTV, 11Alive, etc., blogs, individual thought, Federal Judges, the GBI, the FBI and the culprits behind every adversity known to man.

        How pathetic. Excuse me while I go look under my bed with a flashlight.

      • AthensRepublican says:

        So the Democrats are upset that he was born out of wedlock? Or upset about the ramblings of brother with substance abuse problems?

    • Lady Thinker says:

      And the charge against Michael from the Democrats is that he was born out of wedlock.

      That surely isn’t his fault so I wonder why the opposition even brings it up. It’s cruel and designed to bring out people’s biases.

      • polisavvy says:

        And Michael had exactly what to do with him being born out of wedlock? Seems like that issue was totally out of his control. Remember, kids don’t get to pick their parents — they are just born to them.

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