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Judge Lewis takes stand in libel case

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BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY) -- For the second time in two years a jury will be asked tomorrow to distinguish between first amendment rights and libel in a case involving a Brunswick County judge.

When Edward Rapp made a post on his Facebook page questioning whether a judge could openly support a candidate, Brunswick County Resident Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis took exception.

In court Thursday she told a jury why she has not accepted Rapp's public apologies.

"He has never contacted me personally, nor have you about that," Lewis told Rapp's attorney. "Nor has he posted any apology on his Facebook page. Nor has he posted any apology on any blog."

The defense has maintained throughout the trial that Rapp's comments were not out of line with public opinion of Judge Lewis. Today they pointed to a number of stories done by WWAY and the StarNews, which Lewis has never responded to.

"Judicial standards will not allow us to respond to sensationalism in the media, so I was able to give some clarification but not tell the whole story, as I have had the opportunity to do here in court today," Lewis said.

While Lewis was on the stand, Rapp's attorney questioned if the suit was still about libel or the punitive damages she now seeks.

"I am asking this jury to determine what my reputation is worth, that I have worked so hard for over the last 20 plus years," Lewis said. "My reputation is my brand, sir."

Both sides say they expect a verdict in this case by the end of tomorrow.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Surely you jest

Libel is when you might say things that are totally not true, however free speech does entitle those of us as citizens to scrutinize and give opinions on the service public servants actually perform.

For it to truly be libelous, it would have to be totally not true..........so, surely you jest by this lawsuit.

If some judge or jury was to find in her favor, woe be to the world and it would be proof of more ignorance in jury pools.

Enough elected officials are trying to take away our rights. This is about the 1st Amendment, and the IDIOT IN DC wants to take away our Second Amendment rights also. Sounds like they don't think the BILL OF RIGHTS or the CONSTITUTION mean anything. Yet, they take an oath to "uphold it".........stark contrast as to what they say and what they actually do.

I am all for the man in this case!

Her Reputation has value

Come on guys. Just because she is a judge she is still entitled to sue for slander or libel if the jury determines that is what it was.

The true issue at hand is , if she prevails, to compensate her for the damage done to her reputation as she so stated. I encourage the jury to think hard and follow my advice.

I think her reputation value is worth One ($1) dollar, yes only one dollar, and that is my constitutional right to freely express my opinion.

Award her that dollar and send her back to doing whatever it is only she thinks she does so well.

she is just a product of

she is just a product of affirmitive action or else a person in the business of fair minded justice wouldn't have such thn skin.

One of the best and most

One of the best and most accurate postings ever on this site.

most

you have to be joking Affirmative action are you kidding. What do you think about the gentlemen suing Subway.

First Amendment

When a resident Superior Court Judge does not understand the meaning of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, our nation is truly lost. Any person, whom is a public figure (like an elected official) is/should be open to criticism by the public. That is the basis of our system. I'd say that the First Amendment protects the defendant in this case to a greater extent than if the judge was just a normal citizen or a business owner who is protecting a real "brand". Unfortunately, Your Dishonor, your "brand" was given to you by the voters whom trusted that you would fairly and impartially interpret/apply the laws of this state not inconsistent with the NC and US Constitutions. By your filing of this lawsuit, in an effort to suppress the free speech of citizens in this community, you are a bully. You are abusing your position in an effort to intimidate a citizen from exercising on of their fundamental rights. For that, you should be truly ashamed.

Huckleberry, pipe down and go back to school...

...before you spread around any more of your ignorance to the general public. You clearly don't have a law degree and you clearly don't understand this country's doctines!
First, there is a huge difference between written "criticism" and written "allegations". Second, be careful as to how you express your disrespect for a judge or anyone else in written form. You could just as easily be tracked, located, served and find yourself in a serious lawsuit, exactly in the same manner as Mr. Rapp and countless thousands of others that don't know when it's time to shut up on a public forum. Then YOU and Mr. Rapp will wish you had never even seen Facebook, much less post your big, brave statements for the world to read. Then and only then, is it possible for you to learn a huge lesson.
Never forget, just because nobody can see your face, know your name or know where you live doesn't mean that it can't be easily discovered! Being a bad-a$$ed, faceless cyber warrior can have its consequences, no matter how invulnerable you feel!

Disgusting

What reputation? You mean the one where people think of you as an arrogant bully? Now you want to sue? You are part of the problem, never have you been part of the solution. What a sue happy society we live in.

Who would not stand up for their NAME???!!!!

All of you who commented on this are all ignorant. If there was anyone that was slandering your name and you were a public official you would not do anything about it?! This is her name and job that this guy is putting in jeopardy. I mean who would not stand up for that? This is a lot more than her supporting a candidate. I think WWAY is showing Edward Rapps side of the story and needs to get the whole story. I hope nothing for the best for Judge Ola Lewis. I think she does a wonderful job and is a fair Judge. I support her 100%. I hope the jury pleads with her side of the story and see what pain Edward Rapp has casued in her life.

Ola case

This slander trial is a joke. I've heard county employees express much worse things
about Ola a long time ago!!!