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.