Chicago Alderman John Rice has recently sued Nicholas Sposato, one of his opponents in the 36th Ward run-off races. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Rice accused Sposato of defamation after he tried to allegedly connect Rice to a news report involving Frank Calabrese Jr., a former mobster who has now become an author.
Rice noted a press conference held by Sposato earlier this month where he claimed Sposato had "maliciously and wrongfully accused" him of **illegal activity. The lawsuit, which was filed in Cook County Circuit Court, said Calabrese had spoken about making inroads with the 36th Ward Regular Democratic Organization in the past.
But Calabrese but had never mentioned Rice in his accounts, according to the suit. Still, Sposato allegedly called on United States Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald during his press conference, asking him to investigate Rice. Voters also later began receiving robocalls wrongly accusing Rice of participating in criminal activity, such as "pedaling ... political influence" to mobsters.
The suit, which seeks over $100,000 in damages, contended that the calls, media advisories against Rice, and items found on Sposato's campaign website have damaged the alderman's reputation.
But Nicholas Sposato denied the allegations made against him and said the lawsuit was just a political trick that would "force me to spend money on this rather than my campaign." He contended that he had only "called on the U.S. Attorney to look at the 36th Ward Democratic Organization ... based on the Fox report."
However, Jonathan Lubin, John Rice's lawyer, asserted his client had no ties with any mob and had not been involved in any criminal activities.
To learn more about defamation and how you can proceed with an injury claim like Rice's, visit the Related Resources links below.
- Meet With A Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer (FindLaw)
- Defamation, Libel, and Slander (FindLaw)
- Defamation Suits For Campaign Ads Remain After Nov. 2 (FindLaw's Chicago Personal Injury Law News Blog)