Republican congressional candidate Jim Russell is suing nine people for defamation, including Pulitzer-winning political cartoonist Matt Davies of the Journal News (Westchester County). The New York politician is reportedly seeking $1-million in damages from each of the nine people named.
Russell contends that Davies and other members of the Gannett-owned Journal News, as well as the station News 12 and the Regional News Network, "defamed his character, ruined his reputation and caused him emotional distress," reports LoHud.com.
Russell's lawsuit also names state and local members of the GOP, which withdrew its support of the candidate in his race against Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey after "it was reported that some of his past works included racist and anti-Semitic themes."
The candidate challenges media accounts that characterize his writings as racist. "We will not tolerate political correctness being imposed upon us," Russell, 56, said this week in White Plains, N.Y., LoHud.com reports.
Davies tells Comic Riffs that he cannot speak on the record about the lawsuit. The cartoonist did post a comment on Facebook: "I won't draw cartoons about the lawsuit per se. But as a candidate and public figure he is fair game. A candidate for office should not be able to chill discussion about his background and views merely by filing a lawsuit."
Lawyers for the Journal News have not responded to Comic Riffs's e-mails seeking comment. But Journal News editor and vice president of news Henry Freeman says: "We believe this suit is without merit."