ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CN) – After falsely reporting that a former city councilman had “hired a prostitute to seduce a … colleague, taped the encounter and used it to blackmail the colleague,” Politifax bungled the correction with more false charges, John Schultz claims in Atlantic County Superior Court.
Schultz sued the political news service and editor Nicholas Acocella, claiming they defamed him by not only getting the original story wrong, but also by printing an inaccurate retraction.
According to the lawsuit, Politifax noted that Schultz received a hospitality award from the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority. “You’ll recall Schultz as the guy who hired a prostitute to seduce a City Council colleague, taped the encounter, and used it to blackmail the colleague,” the electronic newsletter allegedly stated. “Now that’s hospitality” (original emphasis).
Schultz says the statement was patently false.
“Schultz never committed the acts described, nor was he ever accused of such activity by any law enforcement or other government authority,” the lawsuit states.
When he notified Politifax of the error, he says the weekly newsletter printed an equally inaccurate correction, stating that although Schultz was never charged in the hiring of a prostitute, “he did enter the pretrial intervention program after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit criminal coercion and invasion of privacy for helping the people involved in the blackmail scheme find a film editor to edit the tape.”
This follow-up statement was also false, according to Schultz.
“Schultz did not enter a guilty plea to any charge against him, and all charges against him were dismissed in their entirety,” the lawsuit states. “Schultz has never been convicted of any crime.”
He claims he has been exposed to “hatred, contempt and ridicule” as a result of the errors, which allegedly caused him emotional pain and anguish. He seeks actual and punitive damages.
His attorney is Edwin Jacobs Jr. with Jacobs & Barbone.