Why candidate filed defamation suit

March 23, 1996

Your editorial of March 15 regarding my defamation lawsuit against Bill Brock suggests a lack of communication between you and anyone involved in or at the trial who was not part of the Brock entourage.

In other words, you did not talk with me or my attorneys. Perhaps you have a bias or special interest which interferes with your objectivity.

For example, a Sun reporter covered some of the trial, but he was the only reporter who did not report the ''jail door closing'' in the Brock TV ad against me.

He did not report, among other things, the long line of state party regulars who trooped in to tell ''tall tales'' but when queried about the basis of their knowledge, had no idea.

No matter, because I did not file this lawsuit for myself alone, but rather for those who will come after me.

In the hope of taking campaign rhetoric out of the gutter and onto the high road, I believe that those of us who are not part of the good ol' boy network, insider establishment need to stand our ground in wanting a fairer, more equal, more honest campaign process.

Why would good people run for office if their lives and their families are at risk to the lies and slander that a wealthy, ''win-at-any-cost'' opponent will stoop to?

The only way to raise the level of campaign rhetoric to the issues and substance of debate is to set limits on propriety of what you can say about your opponent. In other words, ''tell the truth''!

Yes, I criticized Mr. Brock's record (you labeled it ''attack''), but my campaign stuck to the issues on the written record, aggressively perhaps, but the issues nonetheless.

My observation is that you are not yet comfortable with aggressive women. OK, let's get it over with, especially Jewish aggressive women from Montgomery County with a slight New York accent.

I have noticed that you understand more clearly the candidacies of aggressive males, especially with the ''correct'' demographics.

I am certain that you must not be aware of your obvious prejudice. Your prejudices aside, this lawsuit was not about me and, unfortunately, you missed the point.

A highly-thought-of judge in a Maryland circuit court believed there was enough evidence to allow this case to go to trial.

He denied three summary judgment motions of the defendant and two directed verdict motions, believing there was sufficient evidence to send the case to the jury.

Is it possible that he saw merit in this lawsuit? And since he was fully apprised of the substance, is it possible that he knows something you do not or are unwilling to consider?

It is both interesting and instructive that ice cream, potato chips and most other products must adhere to a strict code of honesty in regard in their content. They cannot lie to the public. And if they do lie, there are still penalties.

Also, mortgage brokers, insurance professionals, lenders and others are required to abide by ''truth-in-content'' type laws.

Should not candidates for office be both entitled and held to the same standard? Why would you want someone in office who would lie to get there? Someone who holds an office of public trust should at least be as honest as a potato chip.

You argue that freedom of speech and the robustness of campaigns would have been chilled by the success of my lawsuit. If telling the truth has a chilling effect on campaigns, then so be it.

And we suffer today from much freedom and little responsibility. Freedom without responsibility is chaos or worse. Neither you nor I want to support such a lack of responsibility.

Ruthann Aron

Potomac

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