Defamation suit against Bobert heading to Colorado courtroom, Muckrakers president says

A North Carolina political activist is preparing to file a lawsuit against U.S. Representative Lauren Bobert of Sylt in Colorado federal court, the activist told Colorado Newsline.

David Wheeler, president of American Muckrakers PAC, sued Bobert last year in the state of North Carolina for defamation and malicious harassment. In January, the judge dismissed the case, saying Colorado was the appropriate place to hear it.

Wheeler said he is taking the judge’s advice and is open to filing a similar lawsuit against Bobert in Colorado, though he now plans to file in federal court.

Wheeler said he wanted to video testify Boebert about her involvement in the January 6 uprising and many other issues related to the case. “Certainly, it would be in the public interest to be able to view this video,” he said.

He added that the defamation case could be expanded to include more defendants such as Fox News and Sean Hannity.

The US Muckrakers are widely credited with damaging the electoral prospects of former US Republican Representative Madison Cawthorne of North Carolina after the Muckrakers released an unflattering video of a congressman who lost his re-election bid after an initial defeat. The political action committee later turned its attention to Bobert and began publicizing information about her with the express intention of spoiling her re-election efforts.

Boebert spokesman Ben Stout declined to comment on the story, but he cited a CNN Newsline article last year that refuted many of the Muckrakers claims and noted that Wheeler had already failed in the North Carolina case.

Last year, Wheeler and the Macrakers released information they said came from sources close to Bobert, though some of the claims had no supporting evidence. They announced that sources had disclosed personal information about Bobert that, among other things, contradicted her anti-abortion political stance. In subsequent statements and media appearances, including on The Hannity Show, Bobert accused Wheeler and the McRakers of posting “false statements knowing they were completely fabricated”, described those statements as “libel” and said she was “suing “.

The lawsuit from Bobert never came. But Wheeler did. In the North Carolina defamation case, Wheeler said donations to the Muckrakers PAC went into free fall and his own income, which came exclusively from the Muckrakers, was hit hard. He also said that Bobert was involved in a false prosecution after she filed a temporary protection order against Wheeler, and indicated in court documents that he used “physical and verbal threats” against her, allegations he denies. In August, the court denied Bobert’s request for a protection order.

While some of the American Muckrakers’ claims about Bobert have been proven false, Wheeler maintains the core components of his case against the congresswomen.

He noted that the judge in North Carolina dismissed the case only on the question of jurisdiction.

“He didn’t dismiss it on the merits, but he could have, because it was part of (Bobert’s) request to be fired,” Wheeler said.

The decision to file a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Colorado is largely about sidestepping the issue of jurisdiction, he said, as Wheeler expects that if he files a lawsuit in state court, Bobert will seek to take the case to federal court.

He said that Hannity and Fox News could be defendants in a new defamation lawsuit because they “harassed me quite a lot”, saying that Wheeler knowingly published false information about Bobert.

“How they know what I was thinking will be a problem,” Wheeler said. “Because everything we published and released was based on what we were told, either in writing in documents or recorded phone calls.”

Wheeler is working on the case with Dan Ernst, a Denver lawyer who specializes in defamation.

“We have contacted Fox and, in particular, the Hannity program. And they obviously didn’t respond. They weren’t open to David’s suggestions to fix the record,” Ernst told Newsline on Wednesday.

Newsline contacted the head of communications at Fox News for comment, but had not received a response as of press time.

According to him, one of Wheeler’s goals is to obtain information about Boebert in connection with her participation in the January 6 uprising. Boebert joined with a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump who stormed the US Capitol, and Cassidy Hutchinson, a former senior White House aide, in congressional testimony named Bobert as one of a small group of Republican lawmakers who were involved in the early stages of negotiations with Trump officials about whether how to annul the results of the 2020 elections.

“What is her involvement in this – on record under oath? Because it relates to the facts of our case,” Wheeler said. “To undermine her credibility, we’re going to ask her about all the other issues in her life that we’ve made accusations about.”

Ernst told Newsline that he intends to ask Boebert to “rebut” the false claims she made about Wheeler before filing a new lawsuit, which would go a long way in resolving the dispute.

If Wheeler does file a lawsuit, Ernst said, it would differ from the North Carolina case in that it would have to take into account Colorado’s law against “strategic lawsuits against public participation,” or SLAPP.

The anti-SLAPP law, passed in 2019, aims to prevent attempts to stifle free speech on matters of public interest.

Wheeler and Ernst indicated that the lawsuit could be filed in federal court in Denver by the end of March.

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