Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson lost his bid for a postponement in the March 8 start of his libel suit trial so he could concentrate on campaigning for the 20 primaries that take place that "Super Tuesday." U.S. District Court Judge Joyce Hens Green denied Robertson's request, saying that the former television evangelist "is a willing participant in both" the suit and his presidential campaign.
"Plaintiff chose to bring this lawsuit when he did, and plaintiff also chose to launch a campaign for the presidency at the same time. That these ventures might somehow come into conflict is a risk that plaintiff assumed when he began," the judge said in her decision.
The candidate's lawyers, in their formal request, sought the postponement to "avoid a Hobson's choice in which Mr. Robertson would have to decide between attempting to become the president and implementing the platform upon which he is running or defend his personal reputation against defamatory statements" by former representative Paul N. (Pete) McCloskey Jr. (R-Calif.).
The $35 million lawsuit charges that McCloskey made defamatory statements when he said Robertson had used the political influence of his father, the late senator A. Willis Robertson (D-Va.), to avoid combat duty during the Korean war.