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Judge Judy's son is suing a local sheriff for defamation -- and no, Judge Judy will not be the presiding judge in the matter.
Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy, otherwise known as "Judge Judy's son," is suing Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith for $5 million for saying Levy interfered in a child rape case.
The mudslinging is in full swing, and it's almost a shame that it won't be featured on daytime television.
Judge Judy's son's lawsuit traces its roots to a child rape case against Levy's former personal trainer and friend, Alexander Hossu. The trainer is accused of raping a 13-year-old girl, reports The Associated Press.
Because of the friendship, Levy recused himself from the case, but Smith alleged Levy was trying to influence the case in a not-so-legally-kosher way.
To prove defamation, Levy will need to prove that the sheriff negligently made a false statement that was publicized and had the effect of hurting Levy's reputation.
To win the lawsuit, Levy will need to show that his reputation was damaged by the sheriff's false comments.
In a news release, the sheriff said that Levy's comments and actions suggested that if he could have things his way, Hossu wouldn't have faced criminal prosecution and the public wouldn't have learned about his friendship with Hossu, reports The AP.
While that could certainly tarnish a DA's reputation for integrity, it's arguably an opinion, not fact.
Courts have a tough time with opinions. Generally, if a statement implies defamatory facts as the basis of the opinion, then the statement may be considered libel or slander.
Levy claims the sheriff tried to destroy his reputation through a long-running smear campaign. But the sheriff denies the allegations and calls the lawsuit a "blatantly political" attempt to damage his re-election campaign, reports The AP.
Judge Judy is squarely in her son's corner in this case.
"His moral compass is dead center," Judge Judy said in a statement, according to The AP. "When someone attacks his character professionally or personally they best be prepared to back it up. Shut up, or pay up."
We'll have to wait and see whether he does Judge Mom proud. Until then, pass the popcorn.
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