Claremore Daily Progress

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March 29, 2013

DA, assistants sue Daily Progress for defamation

(Continued)

CLAREMORE —

A Feb. 10 Daily Progress story quoted Detective James Willyard of the Pryor Police Department about a meeting with DA Steidley over a political statement he made on his personal Facebook page, and a Feb. 19 story quoted the mother of a juvenile rape victim criticizing McConnell's handling of the case. 

The two opinion columns were published last year. An Aug. 19 column criticized Iski's role in advising county commissioners on conducting public business, and a Nov. 15 column took issue with the way Iski and DA Steidley handled complaints of bid-splitting violations by county commissioners Kirt Thacker and Mike Helm. Both columns were written by editor Cowling and appeared on the paper's opinion page.

The lawsuit claims the “acts of defendants have directly and proximately caused damage to plaintiffs' reputations and careers.”

DA Steidley and her assistants asked the court for both actual and punitive damages plus attorney fees. The suit did not say if attorney Wohlgemuth is being paid to pursue the libel action with public or private funds.

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