FREEHOLD, N.J. (CN) – A retired state trooper claims WCBS-TV defamed him in a news broadcast that falsely reported he had been arrested “in connection with a threat against President Obama,” and that “authorities searched his house and found ‘an arsenal.'” None of that was true, Joseph Erb says.
Erb, of Hazlet, N.J., retired from the New Jersey State Police after suffering a head injury in the line of duty. He was working part time as a security guard at Newark Liberty International Airport when CBS broadcast the story about him on Oct. 21, 2009. It also was posted on the WCBSTV.com website.
Erb says everything about the report was false: he had not threatened the president; he was not arrested; his home had not been searched; and no “arsenal” was found there.
He claims that “CBS published the report with knowledge that the allegations therein were false.”
Erb claims that defendant reporter Christine Sloan had asked the New Jersey State Police on the morning of Oct. 21 whether the allegations were true, and he says the state police, after contacting the Secret Service, told Sloane “that there was no truth to the allegations against Mr. Erb.”
Erb claims, “Christine Sloan has a history of failing to correctly report information given to her by the New Jersey State Police.”
WCBS-TV published another report on Oct. 21, 2009, “admitting that it had falsely reported that Mr. Erb had been arrested for threatening President Obama,” according to the complaint.
Erb seeks punitive damages for defamation, privacy invasion and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He is represented in Monmouth County Court by Raymond Eisdorfer of Elizabeth.