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BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY) — A Brunswick County judge was on the other side of the bench this morning. It all stems from a Facebook message about a campaign endorsement.

More than a year ago Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis filed a defamation suit against media strategist Edward Lee Rapp after Rapp claimed the judge violated judicial code for openly supporting a candidate. Lewis and her attorney claimed that statements published online compromised Lewis’s character in the public eye.

Rapp says he was just expressing his opinion with his posts. He says after he saw Lewis wearing a political button supporting then-state Senate candidate Bill Rabon, he took his thoughts to the web.

“It shows that there is a possibility of lack of impartiality,” Rapp said. “It’s just a possibility, and that’s my opinion.”

Rapp’s lawyer says this is a First Amendment issue dealing with politics. Rapp says because of who he is up against, he is concerned about the outcome of the summary judgement hearing.

“Did you notice that I brought an attorney from Wake County? What does that tell you? Of course I’m at a disadvantage,” Rapp said.

Judge Lewis’s attorney says his client did nothing wrong by supporting Rabon, because she herself was also a candidate for public office at the time. Sen. Rabon was in the courtroom Friday. Lewis’s lawyer said Rabon is a long-time family friend of Lewis.

We attempted to speak with Judge Lewis after court to hear about this case as well as her involvement in another pending case involving District Attorney Jon David and his battle with Judge Jerry Jolly over a traffic court program. She told us she was not allowed to speak about pending cases.

The summary judgement hearing is on recess for two weeks as the judge reviews the information presented by both sides.

Comment on this Story

  • Elaine

    I hate that Mr. Rapp might get a taste of Brunswick County ‘justice’ in court where things so often don’t exactly operate like they should. Let me see, a judge is standing in a Bolivia courthouse in front of one of the judges from the same place where she presides over them. Unless I missed something. Hmmm. That should go well.

    I did not know that expressing your OPINION in a personal online arena could be a right to be dealt to you only as long as no one complains. We’d all better be careful. I also see no reason why it was okay for Lewis to wear a button for Rabon just because she also was running for office. Did she step down as a judge during that time? Oh, that’s right. It’s Lewis, so it’s supposed to be okay. And since she was present when the local lawyers decided to back Jolly, WHY are none of them good enough to be her attorney in this case? She’s got to have one from Raleigh? Sheesh. Tells me what she thinks of the lawyers around here.

    Since I know now of her relationship with Rabon, and the fact that he was in court today, I’ll rethink my vote for him next time, too. I, for one, am tired of long-time friendships affecting court decisions.

    I do have one news bulletin for the Honorable Lewis, win,lose, or draw with Mr. Rapp. After what she has pulled during the Jolly/David Republican Party fiasco, I think she doesn’t have to worry about Mr. Rapp compromising her character in the public eye. I think she’s done a good job of taking care of that herself.

  • Get Real

    You all are idiots and don’t even need to comment on issues that you obviously are oblivious to. If you weren’t so clueless you would see that Mr. Rapp and his puppets have a personal vendetta against Judge Lewis. If Judge Lewis or any Judge for that matter was wearing a Betty Fennel button, there would never have been a case! Seeing as how Mr. Rapp was Betty Fennell’s Campaign Manager….duh!!! As for her support of Senator Rabon, you are really showing your stupidity. If you don’t know or even have enough sense to google campaign laws, then get real, and stay on the porch…Did any of you even read the details of Judge Lewis case against Mr. Rapp, or his comments on facebook? I seriously doubt it. Some people foolishly think they are posting to just a few friends/folks, not even realizing their comments are public. Then again, you have those that could care less, b/c they have nothing to lose, and crave the limelight. Just saying. When a person’s livelihood depends on their name, they have just as much right to defend it! By the way, what other courthouse would they be at? Duh? Why do you figure her lawyer is from Raleigh? Do you know him? What “do” you know? Your comments and the others appear to come from uneducated individuals that believe anything “the friend of the hour” tells them…Talk about “good old boys”…they are the “bad news boys”. What about her Brunswick County lawyer in the other case? You failed to mention him. Oh, I forgot, I was replying to the uninformed puppet. So sad…you are too lazy to do your own homework and cheat off Mr. Rapp (guess what, he didn’t study either!) Now, as for what our Honorable Judge Ola Lewis pulled during the Jolly/David “fiasco”…there’s another uneducated comment. Have you read the briefs? You guys need to get real! If your too lazy to do your research, then keep your mouth shut! What kind of “traffic court” would you approve of (the kind that was favorably described as moving the young & innocent in and out), or the kind of “court” that doesn’t need a judge present for such trivial matters. or want our deputies bothered with showing up to court to back up their citations. Get Real…Research, then post a comment on what you think of the 50ish illegal that was speeding in excess of 120 miles per hour through Leland. He got away scot free? Not even a slap on the wrist. The DA’s office didn’t even sign off….Has WWAY reported that? NOT! How would you feel if he killed your child the next time,since he got off so easily. Are you still unconcerned about “speeders”….Do your homework or get real and keep your pie hole closed. Lastly when you see mud, consider the source, and ask yourself why the same few work so hard to divide…..The same ones that never comment any good news…just attack, attack, attack. Those that can’t “do”, attack those that try! They seem to easily persuade the uneducated and uninformed….case proven by your comment @ Senator Rabon being in court…duh…do you suppose he was called to appear? And, duh…do you think Senator Rabon’s “enemies” donated their time and money to have him elected. No, you idiot, his friends did! And, since Mr. Rapp wasn’t one, you can follow his pied piper image right behind Bettie Fennell next time, and see how far you go… Thank God, Brunswick County has enough educated and informed voters to overcome the utterly stupid ones….

  • Mark Clements

    Lewis is part of the ugly, arrogant, and corrupt machine politics of SE North Carolina and closely in the vein of the very worst of them all, R.C. Soles. When are the fine people of this Region going to roll up their sleves and rid themselves of this filthy blighters?

  • freebird

    Gee, she strikes again. Has anyone read “The Devil in Pew Number Seven”? The Honorable Ola seems a lot like Mr. Watts. She seems to want to silence Mr. Rapp by suing him. What next, dynamite in his front yard if she can’t silence him? It is truly troubling how so many people of power can’t handle the truth. When someone, especially a common Joe, calls them out and tells the truth they simply can’t handle it. I sure hope the Judge that is hearing this case has the integrity to do the RIGHT thing and get rid of this frivolous lawsuit.

  • Harley

    This is a case of free speech as defined by the 1st Amendment. Other countries – Canada, Great Britian, Thailand, France and other “democracies” have restrictions. We must be free to talk freely and express our opinions, otherwise we become a second class nation. Fight on Ed.

  • qwertyuiop12345

    Only on 3?


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