Maine Democrats Sink Nader’s Conspiracy Suit

     (CN) – The Maine Democratic Party should not face claims that it conspired to keep Ralph Nader off the presidential ballot in 2004, the state Supreme Court ruled.
     Nader ran for president in 2004 with the now-deceased Peter Miguel Camejo as his running mate. Their candidacy was challenged in 17 states, including Maine, where two complaints were filed with the secretary of state.
     Benjamin Tucker, a registered Democrat who was associated with StopNader.com, tried claimed that Nader’s petition circulators “fraudulently concealed the identity of the candidate and misled signers into signing the petition.”
     The secretary of state dismissed the petition.
     Dorothy Melanson, then-chairwoman of the Maine Democratic Party, filed the second petition, accusing the Nader campaign of five violations. The secretary of state rejected that petition was well, and Melanson’s appeals failed in Kennebec County Superior Court and the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
     Nader and four of his presidential electors fired back with a 2009 lawsuit against the party, Melanson, the Democratic National Committee, Kerry-Edwards 2004 Inc. and former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe.
     He accused them of civil conspiracy, abuse of process and other issues, but a Washington County judge dismissed the case under the anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) statute.
     The Maine Supreme Judicial Court gave Nader another chance, however, after it concluding that the case should be re-examine case under a newer version of the anti-SLAPP statute.
     After the trial court preserved four of Nader’s six claims, both sides appealed.
     This time, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court reversed for the Democrats, directing the lower court to dismiss Nader’s complaint in its entirety.
     “Nader produced insufficient evidence to show it was MDP who engaged in petitioning activity through the Tucker complaint, let alone that petitioning activity by MDP was devoid of legal or factual support,” the unsigned opinion states.
     The seven-judge panel also said Nader did not prove Melanson’s complaint was incorrect.
     “It is undisputed that Nader submitted nominating petitions listing an incorrect name for an intended elector – ‘John Noble Snowdeal’ instead of ‘J. Noble Snowdeal’ or ‘Joseph Noble Snowdeal,'” the ruling states. “Although the secretary of state acted within its discretion in accepting the petitions despite that technical defect, it would have also been within the secretary’s discretion to reject the petitions on the basis of that defect.”

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