Rep. Darrell Issa. Courtesy of the Congressman’s office

Rep. Darrell Issa’s $10 million libel lawsuit against Democratic challenger Doug Applegate has been struck down, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Richard Strauss ruled against the congressman Thursday and then affirmed his decision Friday. The judge issued an anti-SLAPP motion, “a provision designed to stop lawsuits filed to dissuade people from speaking critically on public issues,” the U-T reported.

Despite overcoming Applegate’s challenge and winning re-election on Nov. 8, Issa claimed that two political ads against him from Applegate during the campaign damaged his reputation, and he named Applegate’s campaign manager, Robert Dempsey, and the campaign itself in the lawsuit that was filed Nov. 7.

“This is a victory for free speech. It upheld not only other court decisions but the First Amendment of the United States Constitution,” Dempsey told the U-T.

In his ruling, the judge was not convinced the negative commercials against Issa were libelous, and he said the congressman failed to show that statements in the ads were made with acutal malice, according to the U-T report.

Issa’s attorney provided no immediate comment for the story.

–Staff

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