Court Orders False Ads Stay Down After Hearing from Both Sides Today

Nov 01, 2008

Coalition for America’s Families Motion
to Overturn Restraining Order Denied

MADISON – With only two days until Election Day, a judge today ordered that false ads running against Democratic Assembly candidates stay off the air, rejecting a motion from third-party ad group Coalition for America’s Families to overturn the judge’s restraining order from yesterday banning the ads.

“The decision by Judge Lister today puts a nail into the coffin of dirty politics, lies and misrepresentations,” said Jim Smith, Executive Director of the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee. “The winners of the court’s decision are the people of Wisconsin who want to hear about the issues that matter, not lies and smears paid for by shady out-of-state interests groups like Coalition for America’s Families.”

Jackson County Circuit Judge Thomas Lister held a hearing this morning with 92nd Assembly District candidate Mark Radcliffe and attorneys David Halbrooks and Mike Maistelman as well as attorneys for the Coalition for America’s Families, including Mike Wittenwyler and Bush/Cheney Attorney Ben Ginsburg. After the hearing Judge Lister denied the Coalition for America’s Families motion to overturn the emergency restraining order. 

“After hearing from both sides, the Judge made his decision today based upon the facts and law,” said Smith. “The facts are that Candidate Mark Radcliffe never endorsed nor claimed to support free health care for illegal aliens.”

These ads are identical to ads running against other Democratic candidates in Wisconsin, including, but not limited to Kristen Dexter, Trish O’Neill and Reps. Jeff Smith and Jim Soletski.  

“Given the court’s finding of our client’s probable success on the merits of his defamation case, we are asking all media to immediately cease airing these false, deceptive and what we believe to be illegal ads,” said Smith. “Also given the Judge’s decision today, we are asking the Jackson County District Attorney to launch an immediate criminal investigation into this group, its Board Members and all of its financial contributors.” 

Yesterday in an unprecedented legal decision, Judge Lister ordered that Coalition for America’s Families ads be removed from the air immediately after finding that the ads likely violated Section 12.05, Wis. Stats. by knowingly making false statements to affect an election, and has possibly done so with actual malice toward Mark Radcliffe.