Judge Yolanda Orozco of the Los Angeles Superior Court threw out a defamation lawsuit against veteran Rep. Maxine Waters and her campaign Citizens for Waters yesterday.
The suit was filed by Joe Collins, the Republican challenger for Waters’ seat in the 43rd Congressional District in the November 2020 election, which he lost by a two-to-one margin. He sued the Democratic congresswoman over her statement that he had been dishonorably discharged from the Navy in 2017.
Collins’ lawyer claimed that a federal judge’s previous decision – in which Collins’ dishonorable discharge was explicitly referenced – was not a reliable source of information. Judge Orozco disagreed.
While Collins had little to no chance of defeating Waters, the senior-most Black woman serving in Congress, the campaign ads from both sides were particularly personal.
Collins filmed ads outside of Waters’ home, while the congresswoman reminded him of his outstanding child support payments, calling him a pawn for conservative donors. He was one of the speakers at the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6 just hours before the deadly U.S. Capitol insurrection.
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Waters released a fiery statement after the judge’s decision was reached.
“I am so grateful to Judge Orozco for granting our motion to throw out my opponent Joe Collins’ frivolous case against my campaign, and that the law will require him to pay my attorney’s fees,” she wrote.
“The irony is not lost on me that some of the money Collins raised from Donald Trump supporters across the country will actually be applied to my legal defense against his trash lawsuit,” Waters continued. “The fact of the matter is Joe Collins was rejected by the 43rd Congressional District because everyone saw him for what he is: a lying, conniving, fraud who has no intention of doing anything to uplift communities he took every opportunity to diminish and disparage in the local press.”
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“Joe Collins has no respect for our district, no respect for decency, and no respect for the law,” maintained the 15-term congresswoman. “I will never stop fighting on behalf of my district, and we will never let a Donald Trump Republican come into our communities to divide and slander us. The voters in my district took a stand against Joe Collins and Donald Trump in November, and we will most certainly defeat Joe Collins when he tries to run the same playbook in 2022.”
“We will defeat him because Joe Collins is not actually interested in getting elected to office. Running for office has become his job and a source of income to support a lifestyle as a right-wing troll and not to become a legitimate public servant,” Waters said. “He’s not alone in this scheme, and perhaps it’s time local governments and the Federal Elections Commission do something about candidates manipulating and gaming voters in the way Joe Collins and others are doing across this country.”
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