Doug Applegate lost the last election but won in court.
Campaign commercials that were shown on cable television in Orange and San Diego counties last fall are at the center of a judgment ordering Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) to pay his Democratic Party opponent more than $45,000.
Issa, whose district includes parts of South Orange County, sued Democrat Doug Applegate the day before last November’s election, alleging that the commercials libeled the congressman and hurt his reputation. The ads, Issa claimed, subjected him to “hatred, contempt, ridicule and obloquy because they inaccurately portray the congressman as deceitful, uncaring person and corrupt in his role as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.”
Applegate countered that he was exercising his free speech rights with the ads and that Issa was trying to silence dissent.
In March, San Diego County Superior Court Judge Richard Strauss ruled that Issa didn’t prove his case, that the suit violated Applegate’s free speech rights and that the congressman was thus responsible for legal fees spent by the defense.
Applegate, his campaign and his attorneys then asked for $138,188 from Issa to cover legal costs and fees. Issa appealed in May, and Strauss found that Applegate’s amount was excessive. The judge has now ordered Issa to reimburse Applegate, his campaign and his campaign manager Robert Dempsey $42,500 for attorney fees and $2,842 for legal costs.
Issa, his spokespeople and his attorney are not commenting.
One television commercial used parts of an August 2011 New York…
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