Defamation lawsuit filed by former North Pole mayor dismissed

Posted: Thursday, August 10, 2000

NORTH POLE (AP) -- A state Superior Court judge has dismissed the last remaining counts in a lawsuit filed by former mayor Tim Peters.

Peters had sued the city and former councilman Douglas Boyer claiming defamation of character in advertisements advocating his recall. Peters was mayor for less than a year when he was recalled in a special election in 1998.

Boyer headed the group True Friends of North Pole, which advocated Peters' recall.

In a ruling handed down Friday, Judge Mary Green ruled that Peters had no evidence of actual malice. Because Peters was a public figure, Green said he would have to prove that statements published about him were untrue and were published with reckless disregard for the truth.

Peters has since moved from North Pole and could not be reached for comment. His attorney declined to comment.

Boyer said he was pleased with the ruling.

''I am extremely relieved,'' Boyer said. ''It's been a long process. I didn't expect it to turn into a lawsuit. It's the political process. Things are said during an election. If you can't handle it, you shouldn't be running.''

City Attorney Zane Wilson said the ruling makes it clear that ''a public figure in a political campaign has to tolerate a certain amount of criticism and there's no legal recourse for that.''

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