CLEVELAND (WJW) – Dennis Kucinich has filed a defamation lawsuit against The Plain Dealer, accusing the newspaper and Cleveland.com of intentionally targeting him to prevent him from becoming Cleveland’s mayor.
Kucinich filed the lawsuit in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Tuesday, naming The Plain Dealer, Advance Local Media – which owns Cleveland.com, editor Chris Quinn and two reporters.
The former U.S. Congressman and Cleveland’s mayor from 1977 to 1979 lost a primary battle for the mayor’s office in September, placing third behind Justin Bibb and Kevin Kelley.
Bibb went on to win the general election and was sworn in on Monday.
Kucinich’s libel and slander lawsuit claims the media outlet “did not want [Kucinich] to run for or become the Mayor of Cleveland again. So, Defendants tried to stop [Kucinich] from successfully running by targeting and defaming [his] reputation.”
The lawsuit references articles and a podcast that it states made false claims about Kucinich, including that he took money from FirstEnergy, which was involved in a bribery scandal.
The lawsuit also notes that the outlet’s endorsement of Mayor Justin Bibb told readers, “Whatever you do, don’t vote for Dennis Kucinich.”
Kucinich is seeking monetary compensation and damages, stating he has suffered distress and damages to his brand, expected book sales and relationships.
Kucinich and his attorney, Aaron Minc, declined an interview request from FOX 8 News.
In a statement posted on his firm’s website, Minc said “This lawsuit is about a news organization pursuing a political agenda to use any means at their disposal to stop Congressman Dennis Kucinich from being elected Mayor of Cleveland.”
The statement also called the articles an “assault on his reputation and legacy.”
“Unfortunately, it is evident that the Plain Dealer, its reporters and editor simply could not stomach the idea of seeing Congressman Kucinich re-elected Mayor, so they maliciously targeted and defamed Congressman Kucinich’s reputation and legacy in the absolute worst way that they could come up with.”
Quinn declined to comment on the lawsuit at this time, telling FOX 8 News “with litigation, we make our response in the pleadings.”
At the time of this publishing, the organization had not filed any pleadings with the court.