A judge dismissed a defamation suit brought by a former state senator against a current state senator
Kanawha Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit dismissed the suit against West Virginia State Senator Rupie Phillips filed by former Senator Richard Ojeda.
The point of contention for Ojeda was the use of his name, voice and likeness in radio commercials during the 2020 Election. Ojeda accused Phillips of using quotes posted by Ojeda online without permission.
Judge Tabit dismissed the case and ruled that Ojeda, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in the same cycle and announced a bid for President, was a public figure.
The ads for the Phillips campaign never named Ojeda explicitly.
The audio and video posted by Ojeda were in reference to ill feelings toward then Logan County Prosecutor Jon Bennett and handling of a criminal case against Jonathan Porter who admitted to attacking Ojeda during a political rally at Whitman in 2016.
Ojeda encouraged viewers to share the videos he posted online.
“Under those circumstances,” Tabit ruled, “I don’t think you could say the privacy was invaded because he was encouraging and inviting the publicity.”