Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Kelly Loses Defamation Suit

City Councilman Jack Kelly just lost his civil lawsuit against Paul Corbett, who Kelly said distributed fliers that damaged his 2007 campaign.

Kelly Loses Defamation Suit

City Councilman Jack Kelly just lost his civil lawsuit against Paul Corbett, who Kelly said distributed fliers that damaged his 2007 campaign.

Kelly filed a defamation suit against Corbett. He argued that Corbett’s fliers, which accused Kelly of voting "with the homosexual lobby" to "promote sodomy to our youth," endangered his effort to be re-elected to an at-large seat on Council.

A jury today found that the flier was defamatory and false but not distributed with malice.

Corbett, 80, was incensed after Kelly and 15 other Council members voted in May 2007 to force the local Boy Scouts chapter to pay $200,000 per year or move off city-owned property it had rented for $1 per year since 1928. Council acted after deciding the Boy Scouts, who ban participation by homosexuals, were violating the city's anti-discrimination ordinance.

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Corbett distributed the fliers at churches in Northeast Philadelphia just before the 2007 Republican primary election, using the name, "Citizens Opposed to Politicians who Pander to Perverts."

Kelly held off challenger David Oh by just 123 votes after a recount. He sued to recoup money his campaign committee spent to counter the flyers and fight for the recount.
 

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Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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