Supreme Court won't hear Iowa state senator's appeal in defamation case against rival

Associated Press

The Supreme Court has declined to revive a defamation lawsuit that an Iowa Republican state senator filed against his Democratic opponent over a misleading campaign ad.

The justices on Tuesday let stand the Iowa Supreme Court's decision dismissing state Sen. Rick Bertrand's lawsuit.

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Bertrand said Democrat Rick Mullin and the Iowa Democratic Party had libeled and slandered him in a TV ad run before the November 2010 election that Bertrand won. The ad said Bertrand's employer sold "a dangerous sleep drug to children."

A jury in 2012 agreed with Bertrand that the ad falsely suggested he personally sold the drug and awarded him $231,000 in damages.

The Iowa court ruled that the ad's false implication may have been negligence, but wasn't a "reckless disregard for the truth."