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Nasty Fight Among Illinois Democrats

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CN) - A Democratic candidate for the state House claims in court that a Democratic committee falsely accused him of propositioning undercover officers for sex, used "his position as an attorney to have intimate contact with a prison inmate," and performed a sex act on an unconscious woman.

Samuel Cahnman, who seeks Democratic nomination for the 96th state House District, claims the false accusations were sent in a mailer to certain constituents of that district.

Cahnman claims the mailer was sent by the Democratic Majority, which supports the candidacy of Cahnman's opponent, fellow Democrat Mary Scherer.

Cahnman sued the Democratic Majority and Friends of Michael J. Madigan, in Sangamon County Court. Madigan is the chairman of the Democratic Majority, who "stated purpose" is "To elect Democratic candidates to the Illinois House," according to the complaint. Madigan also is chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party and Speaker of the Illinois House.

In 2009, the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission filed a 3-part complaint against Cahnman, claiming he made false statements to a court in 2008, solicited a sex act from undercover officers in August 2009 and brought the legal profession into disrepute by groping a female prisoner in 2002, the State Journal-Register newspaper in Springfield reported on Dec. 16, 2009.

The newspaper reported in 2011 that police were investigating a report from a woman who claimed Cahnman took advantage of her while she was passed out. Cahnman was found not guilty in the undercover police case; the inmate in question said the groping was a brief hug, and no charges were ever filed relating to the passed-out woman, according to the, a website covering Illinois politics.

Cahnman claims the Democratic Majority knew the statements were false when the mailer was sent out.

"The defamatory statements alleged herein, harm plaintiff's reputation among voters in the 96th District and others," the complaint states.

"The defamatory statements were published with the intention of inflicting harm on the plaintiff.

"To counter defendant's defamatory statements, plaintiff has incurred large costs, purchasing radio, TV and other forms of the media."

Cahnman seeks damages for defamation. He filed the complaint pro se.

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