A copy of State Rep. Kenny Bingham’s (R-Cayce) lawsuit against blogger Will Folks has been obtained. Curiously, on Folks’ website (as of 3:00 PM today), he was unable to address details because they were “not immediately available.”
I’ve had it since 10:00 AM today.
The suit claims Folks, via his website FITSNews, willfully and repeatedly published “false and defamatory” statements about Rep. Bingham and knew they were false upon publication.
The statements Folks published quoted “sources” that Bingham, Chairman of the South Carolina House of Representatives Ethics Committee and frontrunner to become Speaker, was the subject of an ethics complaint. The suit contends Folks knew there was no such complaint but continued to publish stories to the contrary.
Further, according to the suit, some of the FITSNews posts “falsely accuses Mr. Bingham of a crime and being unfit in his business” and “falsely [implies] that the plaintiff engaged in unethical conduct.”
In the suit, seven incidents are cited in which Will Folks/FITNews:
…falsely accuse the plaintiff of ethics violations and some of the statements falsely accuse the plaintiff of being corrupt, unethical and guilty of criminal conduct.
Even though the defendants learned these statements were false they continued with malice to falsely publish the false statements.
In a February post titled “A Message for SC ‘Ethics’ Chairman Kenny Bingham,” Folks wrote that he had more ink than Bingham has blood and called the Bingham a “jilted little girl.” He also boasted of his readership; “More than 300,000 people visit my site each month.”
Bingham’s attorney, John E. Parker took note of that point, but not as Folks had intended.
FITSNEWS is disseminated to approximately 300,000 people and as a result of the defamatory statements about the plantiff were published throughout the state of South Carolina.
Bingham’s suit does not specify what it seeks other than to ask for actual and punitive damages “in an appropriate amount” and Bingham’s legal costs. This means he is leaving it up to a jury or through out-of-court settlement to determine what, if any, monetary compensation should be awarded.
Last week, FITSNews published an article that included the following:
Our founding editor issued the following, three-word statement in anticipation of Bingham’s suit … Bring it on.
Will Folks got his wish granted.