Court throws out defamation verdict against former lawmaker
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – A Kentucky Appeals Court has thrown out a $200,000 defamation verdict a jury had awarded to a Republican state senator over a political ad his Democratic opponent ran against him in 2014.
R.J. Palmer is the former Democratic leader in the Kentucky Senate. He lost to Republican Ralph Alvarado in 2014. Alvarado is a medical doctor. Palmer aired a TV ad that used courtroom footage to imply Alvarado was getting rich from the opioid epidemic.
The courtroom footage was altered. But a three-judge panel ruled the alterations did not change the meaning of the hearing. Also, it said the ad was political speech protected by the First Amendment.
Alvarado did not answer a phone call seeking comment.
Palmer’s attorney said he was “gratified” and said the judges made the correct decision.