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Scientology and Ostrich Eggs in Nevada Race

LAS VEGAS (CN) - A Nevada state Senate hopeful has taken to court to fight allegations that he conned a disabled man into buying two $30,000 ostrich eggs for the Church of Scientology.

Brent Jones says the spurious rumor appeared on a website called

"Did Brent Jones talk a mentally disabled man into giving up $30,000 for Brent's ostrich egg business," the website asks.

As readers scroll down, they are presented with purported passages from a New Times Los Angeles article about the alleged fraud on Raul Lopez.

This Dec. 21, 2000, article says Jones and Lopez were both Scientologists. It claims Lopez had won $1.7 million settling claims over a car accident that left him mentally impaired. Lopez and his mother sued Jones, the Church of Scientology and others over the alleged egg fraud, according to the website, which links to the case caption in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The summary says Lopez dismissed the case with prejudice in 2002. According to the Las Vegas Sun, the case was settled out of court and sealed.

In his lawsuit in Clark County District Court, Jones says the "false assertions" have come from his opponent in the Senate race, Mari St. Martin and the Friends of Mari St. Martin (FMSM) campaign.

"In or about May, 2012, FMSM operating under the will and bidding of St. Martin, created an internet website titled ',' for the sole purpose of defaming plaintiff and negatively affecting his election and defaming him to voters in Clark County, Nevada. In same, FMSM represented the false assertions of fact regarding plaintiff that plaintiff defrauded a handicapped person known as Mr. Lopez by selling him two 'eggs' worth $30,000, even though said allegations were completely false and defamatory, known to be false or in reckless disregard of the truth by Defendants, AND SAID WEBSITE OPERATES EVEN NOW AND IS OPEN TO VIEWING BY THE PUBLIC." (Capitalization in original.)

The campaign also called registered voters like Jody Black with more defamatory messages, Jones says.

"FMSM represented the false assertions of fact to Jody Black that:

"1. Plaintiff defrauded a mentally handicapped person;

"2. Plaintiff was incarcerated due to fraud,

"even though said allegations were completely false and defamatory, known to be false or in reckless disregard of the truth by Defendants," according to the complaint.

Jones has reportedly claimed to have the backing of Tea Party groups and Ron Paul, while the media says the Senate Republican caucus has endorsed St. Martin.

"The irreparable harm will result to plaintiff's reputation and to his election," Jones says.

The Las Vegas Sun reported that Jones had a Southern California ostrich ranch in the 1990s.

Jones and St. Martin are vying to fill a seat left vacant when Elizabeth Halseth resigned in February. Halseth was the youngest woman in Nevada to be elected to the state Legislature.

The primary is June 12.

Jones seeks punitive and special damages for defamation.

He is represented by Michael A. Root.

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