Following her victory in court over U.S. Rep. Diane Black, Former congressional candidate Lou Ann Zelenik expressed gratitude for the decision.
The defamation suit was filed by Aegis Sciences Corp., a drug-testing company owned by David Black, who is the husband of Diane Black.
Zelenik's political ad, which ran during the 2010 campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives 6th Distirct race, claimed Aegis Sciences benefited from votes by Black when she was serving in the state Senate.
David Black will appeal the ruling.
And Zelenik offered this statement:
“Following yesterday’s court decision upholding my First Amendment Rights and the truth of a television ad my campaign used during the 2010 GOP Primary for Congress, my deepest feelings are those of gratitude to my family, friends and supporters. It has been their prayers and encouragement that have sustained me for the past 18 months.
The use of a corporation by David and Diane Black to destroy me personally and financially has represented a new low in American politics. Thankfully the court saw through the smoke and mirrors and dismissed them and their claims stating unequivocally the ad ‘is true’.
Diane Black has used her consultants, agents, and the money of her husband’s company to cover her lack of ethics and morality. In 2010 we pointed out the documented facts of her support and votes as a state senator for legislation benefiting the company. She did so without disclosing her family’s financial interest, which was a violation of Senate Ethics Rule 13.
While I was not the first candidate to shine the light of truth on this matter, I was the first to be ahead by 15 points with only 10 days remaining in the election. The ad was never about the company, but was completely about Diane Black. Her response was to use her money and alleged power to defame and lie about anyone who would get in the way. More than $1 million later, it worked by 283 votes out of more than 80,000 cast.
Furthermore her consultants and agents invaded my family’s privacy by obtaining my late mother’s medical records. Please tell me what this has to do with a congressional race in 2010? They contracted a “push polling” firm to call into Tennessee homes labeling me a liar, and even claimed I had voted to raise taxes – an impossibility since I have never held public office.
One of my attorneys, Lee Davies, has also pointed out the bottom line to this entire matter: ‘In granting the motion for summary judgment, the court found as a matter of law the political ad was not defamatory. The court went on to hold the truth is an absolute defense.’
I found it interesting that David Black immediately issued a statement using the name of Aegis to continue the attempt to deflect attention from Diane Black. It is obvious he really wants Diane to be a congressman and remain one.
My colleague and dear friend, Andy Miller, who was in the courtroom, commented immediately afterwards, ‘maybe, just maybe, David and Diane learned a lesson.’ It appears they have not.”