Mitchum sues Capps over TV ad

February 18, 2015
Lois Capps

Lois Capps

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

The recent Republican challenger to Central Coast Congresswoman Lois Capps has filed suit against her, alleging that the Democratic Rep. defamed him in a television ad that altered the outcome of last year’s election.

Capps defeated Chris Mitchum in the November election by fewer than 8,000 votes and by a margin of less than 2 percent. Late in the campaign, Capps released an ad showing a video clip of Mitchum that was spun out of context to falsify what he was saying, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Santa Barbara Superior Court.

“I do not intend to go to Washington to represent the 24th District,” Mitchum said in the commercial aired by Capps.

“I do not intend to go to Washington to represent the 24th District, to bring back baseball fields. That’s not why I’m going. I’m going to fight for my country, and I happen to come from the 24th District. ” Mitchum said in a longer version of the video clip.

Mitchum said in an email statement to CalCoastNews Wednesday that he is seeking a landmark ruling that will stop individuals and organizations from attempts to manipulate the public with untrue claims.

“It changes the balance (outcome) of elections and deceives voters into voting on information based on malicious lies,” Mitchum stated. “That is not the America in which I grew up and it must be stopped.”

Capps Campaign Consultant Bill Carrick called the complaint a “frivolous lawsuit.”

“The congresswoman has not been served with the claim and therefore has not had the chance to read it, but she is proud of the campaign she ran and is confident there is no validity to this frivolous lawsuit,” Carrick said.

Mitchum’s suit alleges that the ad falsely portrayed him as someone who planned to represent the Tea Party, not his constituents. The lawsuit states that Capps’s add completely altered the meaning of Mitchum’s statements and portrayed him as a hypocrite and narrow-minded Tea Party advocate.

The shortened audio clip of Mitchum aired on television, as well as radio stations in the district. It came amid a late advertising push by the Capps campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

Both Capp’s congressional campaign and the DCCC are named as defendants in the lawsuit. The DCCC spent $99,000 on radio ads in the final weekend of the campaign alone, the suit alleges.

After the ad aired, California Republicans sent a letter to Capps demanding that she cease and desist running the commercial. A Capps spokesman told KEYT that he did not see anything wrong with the ad because Mitchum planned to represent a narrow agenda.

To prove defamation, Mitchum’s attorney, Joshua Lynn, must show proof that Capps not only made a false statement, but did so with malice. Proof of malice is required because Mitchum is a public figure.

Lynn stated in a press release that a lawsuit against ABC and its former reporter John Stossel serves as precedent for Mitchum’s case. In the ABC case, Stossel quoted a minister who said in a sermon that he used donations to buy luxury items.

But, the minister was not referring to himself in the context of the sermon. ABC settled the suit out of court and issued an apology.

Mitchum’s suit also alleges that Capps, her campaign and the DCCC committed a second tort: intentional infliction of emotional stress. The lawsuit states that the false ad caused Mitchum to suffer severe emotional shock and distress.

Mitchum is requesting reimbursement of his legal costs. He is also seeking compensatory, general, special, punitive and exemplary damages.

Capps recently faced a lawsuit that ended with the federal government issuing a $2.5 million settlement. After a former legislative aide for Capps struck and killed a Santa Barbara woman while driving drunk, the victim’s parents sued the driver, Capps and the federal government.

The suit alleged that the driver was on the job for Capps at the time and that congressional staffers attempted to cover-up knowledge of the man’s past DUIs. The federal government assumed liability for Capps and agreed to pay $2.5 million to the victim’s family.

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achillesheal

Waste of time and money. The burden of proof (malice) is too high. She mislead to win. Period.


Good thing she is just going to fulfill her dead husband’s dream of being in congress for 1 term and then move on.


Slowerfaster

Mitchum’s ‘Actual Statement’ is even more damning, as he never answers the question, “How do you plan on representing the Central Coast if you are elected ?” …instead going off on a strawman revisionist historical anecdote about a revolutionary soldier in 1776 taking up arms.


Arms against Who ? And Why ?

And BTW, Mitchum has never picked up a rifle or anything else in defense of this country or its ideals in his entire life.

He’s just another spoiled, legacy plutocrat with rich friends.

He may have been subconsciously truthful, as the ones he would really represent are those he considers like himself.


Slowerfaster

Chris Mitchum was born in 1943. He’s 71 now. He would have been draft age (18) in 1961.

Vietnam wasn’t hot then, but it soon would be.

1964, Mitchum was 21-22. Did he get a deferment?

1968, Tet offensive, Mitchum would have been 26 …still draft eligible.

Where was Mitchum ? His first film credits are “Chisum” and “Rio Lobo” in 1970, alongside another famous chickenhawk and fake soldier John Wayne.


Some other guy carried a rifle for this phony.


Kevin Rice

Hiding in Canada with Jan Marx and her husband?


mkaney

This isn’t about Mitchum, it’s about Capps.


shelworth

Whom


Slowerfaster

For whom the bell tolls….

It tolls for thee.

( Republicans, i.e. recidivists/Tories/reactionaries/economic royalists/anti-civilizationalists/insane people )


mkaney

That may all be true, but when I saw that commercial and then found the original statements. I was ticked off, as I am every time I see this kind of misrepresentation happening. Frankly, I don’t like either of them. But this B.S. they all keep doing really pollutes the discussion. We should not just accept this as a normal part of campaigning and I wish people would stop defending their chosen candidate for bad behavior.


We need to stop making corruption, lying, and misrepresentation deal-killers for any candidate.


OnTheOtherHand

Well said. I also didn’t care for either of them — for different regions. This ad pushed me from a “third party” vote or no vote at all into a vote for Mitchum. (I figured that if he turned out to be as bad as I suspected, at least he would be easier to vote out in the next election.)


OnTheOtherHand

Proofread before posting dammit. “reasons” not “regions”.


racket

And your point is … because of this Dem Central can libel him with impunity?


lakerhater

Is misleading people really any surprise from a woman that tried to cover up when one of her staff killed a young lady while he was driving under the influence?


jonhartz

No, she says ” messeeeege” like a damn gomer.


catdude

Oh, those evil Democrats! I’m shocked, shocked, I say; a Republican would NEVER even THINK of cheating or manipulating to win an election!


malovato

Sorry Mr. Mitchum… Quotes taken out of context has been going on …forever. Hillary Clinton’s “What difference does it make?” regarding Benghazi is a classic example. As a politician you just gotta hope that voters read or listen to the whole quote. But I’m afraid that is not the case. Lazy, low information voters fall for the baloney and spin all the time. Why? Because it works….Sad.


Vagabond

Lying to win elections is as old as elections themselves. If this guy can put a stop to it he needs to be elected to a much higher office.


st33L

Deceit from skeletor and her campaign?! Say it isn’t so….


SloNative46

“I’m Lois Capps and I approved this message!”


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