A Henry County Superior Court judge has thrown out a libel suit filed by former Republican candidate for governor Ray McBerry against the mother of a 16-year-old with whom Berry had an affair while he was a high school teacher.
Before McBerry jumped into politics, the student’s mother, Linda Pittman, successfully lobbied to have his teaching license suspended. During the 2010 campaign, she referred to him as a “child molester” on her Facebook page.
In arguments made earlier this month, John Rains, Pittman’s attorney, argued that, as a political speech, such language was protected by the First Amendment.
Pittman’s attorney also argued that, given McBerry’s low reputation in the community, the former candidate for governor qualified as a “libel-proof plaintiff.”
Berry also filed suit against the southwest Georgia writers of a now-defunct political blog. It’s not clear what impact the judge’s ruling has on them.
- By Jim Galloway, Political