Party Official Says Blogs Labeled Him ‘Jail Bird’

     ATLANTA (CN) – Rashad Richey, political director for the Democratic Party of Georgia, claims in court that two bloggers slandered him as a “jail bird” and a “recidivist.”
     The lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court accuses Andre Walker, owner and webmaster of Georgia Politics Unfiltered and Melanie Goux, owner and webmaster of Blog for Democracy, of publishing numerous false and malicious statements about him.
     From April 18 to May 2, Walker used his blog to launch a “false and malicious attack” on Richey that said: “Ali Rashad Richie, political director for Georgia’s Democratic Party is a jail bird. Rashad Richie is a recidivist,” “Rashard Richey, the person in charge of making political decisions for Georgia Democratic Party, has a history of making poor personal decisions,” “so, a criminal is in charge of directing Democratic politics across Georgia,” according to the complaint.
     Walker’s articles, which are still online, claim that Richey was arrested 12 times for charges including burglary and battery. A police report posted on the website says Richey’s girlfriend accused him of assaulting her and kicking in her door. Walker wrote the next day that Richey had pleaded guilty to these crimes.
     Goux allegedly republished these statements on her blog. Jane Bradshaw, whom Richey also names as a defendant, republished Walker’s statements in email messages sent to “numerous individuals,” the complaint states.
     Richey denies the bloggers’ comments. “Plaintiff is not a convicted felon and defendant Walker, defendant Goux and defendant Bradshaw were all aware that plaintiff was not a convicted felon when these statements were published and republished by them in cyberspace,” according to the complaint.
     Comments on these blog posts called for Richey’s termination, and Richey says his employer has received such calls personally “as though he has been less than forthcoming about his background, which is not the case,” according to the complaint.
     “As these decisions are influenced by more than just the chair of the party, there is a possibility that he could be terminated.”
     Richey says the “direct intention” of the bloggers’ statements was to “cause plaintiff to be fired from his job and injure him personally and professionally.”
     The complaint asks for a retraction of all statements about Richey and related content on both blogs. Richey is also seeking compensatory and punitive damages for slander, emotional distress and business interference.
     He is represented by Quinton Washington of Bell & Washington and Reginald J. Lewis of The Mabra Firm.

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