Oct 242009
 
 October 24, 2009  Court, Online

Mark Todd reports:

A Conneaut (Ohio) councilman is poised to sue another over e-mail messages posted last year, alleging Julio was involved in an extramarital affair.

Ward 4 Councilman Tony Julio, at a press conference Friday afternoon, said Ward 1 Councilman Dave Campbell, under the user name “starsandbars,” posted messages in April 2008 on a now-defunct Star Beacon forum page, alleging an affair with a female city employee. Julio and his attorney, Nicholas Iarocci, said they will seek compensation in court.

“We will be seeking monetary damages,” Iarocci said.

City Council candidate Michael Bambarger also wrote messages under the user name “for the people,” implying an affair and also will be the subject of a lawsuit, Iarocci said.

[…]

Shortly after the messages appeared, Julio filed litigation in Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court against the Star Beacon; Groupee Inc. of Seattle, Wash., the company involved in the Web site, and six “John Does” who posted the messages. Julio wanted the newspaper and Groupee to divulge the names of the forum users.

People who participate in the forum must first provide some personal information before they can access the discussion threads.

Attorneys for the newspaper and Groupee opposed the release of the information, claiming it “privileged and constitutionally protected,” according to court documents. On Sept. 24, Judge Ronald Vettel found in favor of Julio, saying “the relevance of (Julio’s) request, and his need to identify the anonymous authors of the defamatory statements, outweighs the right to speak anonymously.”

Vettel ordered the release of the personal information, and on Oct. 16 the defendants complied, turning over a list of under names and their corresponding e-mail addresses.

Read more on Star Beacon.

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