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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Bluebird

I voted for Lois because Mitchum does not represent my values.

However I do not agree that she ran a clean campaign. It will

probably be found legal but in my opinion is not ethical. As for the money spent by the Dem Senatorial Com that amount is a drop in the bucket when compared to money spent on elections and

lobbying now days.

Both times Bordonardo ran against Lois he sent out flyers that

attacked her physical appearance . Legal but not ethical.


retiredpoliceofficer

I am a life long Democrat. I voted by absentee ballot before Capps ran the totally misleading

ads. If I had waited to vote I would have either voted for Mitchum or not voted for either.

Capps ad was a disgrace to the electorate. What you think of Mitchum is not the issue.

The issue is Capps ad. I hope Mitchum wins the suit and lets vial politicians know there is a

limit to what they can get away with. I would support a recall of Capps with a suitable candidate

to take her place.


achillesheal

I realize that cops are in unions and unions push democratic group think, but how a cop or ex cop could be a democratic in obamas democrat party completely baffles me. You have bee made the enemy in ferguson, mo, NY, etc.. By your own democrat brethren such as those race peddlers Obama, sharpton and Jackson,


My parents were Kennedy democrats. Kennedy would be a right wing extremist today. Ask not what your country can do for you…. Would a democrat today speak those words? Obama says steal all you can from others and don’t worry about working.


Not that republicans are much better, but I don’t see how a cop could be a democrat today.


CambriaKing

A pathetic way to get elected, wether you are a democrat or republican. Our politicians need to have more self worth, rather than having to stoop to this level. If you need to get elected that bad, just anoint yourself with oil and declare yourself high priest.


MajorityFan

Noooo! Not another D-List actor! Didn’t we learn from the tragic Reagan years, the Ahnold years, the Gopher years, the Janice Peters years?


Why anyone would vote for an actor?


Slowerfaster

Check out the credits on Fox ( Faux ) news.

All of the newsreaders are listed as ACTORS: O’LIElly, Shammity, Greta Van Ugly, Megan Blondie.


Canada just canned their version of FOX (Faux) news.

Canadians are smarter than idiot amuricans.


Rambunctious

Well as your post makes apparent; they are smarter than one anyway…


Rambunctious

The number of lies coming from the Capps campaign was astronomical but this one in my opinion is actionable and screams for litigation. His run for office took a huge hit when that false ad ran. I would also sue any radio or television stations that ran the ad as well because it would have been so easy to vet and they didn’t; they just ran it. And in my opinion that was dishonest. KVEC,KCOY,KSBY and any other stations that ran the ad should hang their heads in shame. And they should be forced to answer for their actions in court. I’m going to contact Joshua Lynn and run it past him. I’ve had enough with mains stream media lying and covering for democrats.


centralcoastscott

Campaign ads like the one Capps aired should result in criminal prosecution. It PURPOSELY misrepresented the words spoken by Mitchum by using an out of context, sound bite.


We absolutely cannot have candidates lie about their own political beliefs or misrepresent the political beliefs of their opposition. The day that becomes acceptable we may as well fill out our ballots while blindfolded.


And BTW, I am not a Republican and thought Mitchum was a bit creepy. That said, I hope he prevails in this case.


Scott


slomike

“Becomes acceptable”? Two words for you. Karl Rove.


tojofay

Got his ass kicked and now wants to cry unfair- waa waa waa. Grow up.


justbeware

Lois agreed to pull the ad, then began to run it again.

Something gave her campaign reason to pause.


A loss by less than 2% of the votes is NOT getting your @ss kicked.


shelworth

She also took an oath to serve one term, we all know how that turned out.


willnose

YES – we do know! A majority of the county voters asked, and kept her in office by the way they cast their ballots. Takes that red-herring off the hook, stop kicking this dead horse argument. It should, but in certain minds it’s stuck like an old record needle, skipping reality, over and over…

.


tojofay

waaaawaaa waa waaaa- and that add was the difference– waaa waa waaaaaa


Nap time Chrissy


Slowerfaster

When Republicans can’t win…fairly OR unfairly, they always go martyr.


It is just impossible for them to be gracious or dignified, because they aren’t gracious or dignified.


kayaknut

And Senate Democrats have been acting how? since they lost control, the same way you claim Republicans act……


mkaney

Quite ironic that you would end your rather childish comment with “Grow up.”


unlisted

As much as I hate political ads, I’m concerned that if this ad “caused Mitchum to suffer severe emotional shock and distress,” perhaps he shouldn’t be in Congress?


Based on some of the Congressional debates and deliberations I’ve seen, they would probably cause poor Chris to curl up and die.


Slowerfaster

Mitchum is a BAD ACTOR that never would have had ANY acting parts were it not for his famous father.

Have you seen any of his marginal roles ? Atrocious acting. Stiff and without emotion.

Then, he externalized that his not receiving acting jobs was because he was a conservative. Always blaming others, never his own inadequacies.


This guy is a NOTHING that has never done anything on his own.


racket

And your point is … that it’s therefore okay for Dem Central to concoct and air lies about him?


unlisted

Thanks for explaining that Chris believes that he doesn’t receive acting jobs because he is a conservative.


That clearly must be the case because I never see any conservative actors in movies or on TV. It’s a shame that such talented people are barred from acting just because they are conservative. They really should give people like James Caan, Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, Kelsey Grammer, Susan Lucci, Tom Selleck, Gary Sinise, Sylvester Stallone, Jon Voight, or James Woods a chance to act at least once, even though they are conservative.


fhill123

I hope he wins this “frivolous” lawsuit as the only frivolity was on Capps’ part. It was so misleading and deceitful.


willnose

If any of you were “misled” by this rather badly chopped and staged ad, then you’re simpleton, or willfully ignorant; either way not fit to vote.


Political TV, print ads, etc. are notoriously bad, shallow, full of falsehood, and one-sided. That’s a fact we all can agree to, can’t we…?


I’m surprised anybody is actually reading them, AND FURTHERMORE BELIEVES what it says. Anyone have a discerning mind anymore…?


justbeware

High numbers of low information voters voted for Obamaphones, healthcare costs going down $2500 for the average American, and if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.


Sadly, Willnose, they’re out there.