Monday, November 12, 2012 at 1 p.m.
Here at OC Weekly World Headquarters in Costa Mesa we've known for eons that colleague Matt Coker is sadistic.
Season after losing season, Coker—an award-winning, veteran journalist—periodically makes himself wear Oakland Raiders paraphernalia to the office as if he's permanently stuck in January 25, 1981, the day his team last won the NFL's Super Bowl*.
But now Coker's sadistic nature is part of a $75 million libel lawsuit recently filed against him and the Weekly by former Southern California congressional candidate and convicted thief Delecia Ann Holt.
Holt, a self-styled "Republican with a heart" who is presently an inmate of the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, claims in a handwritten complaint that a series of 2009/2010 Coker news articles about her on the Weekly's Navel Gazing blog, "defamed, libeled, invaded plaintiff's privacy, caused the plaintiff emotional distress and physical distress . . . as well as put the physical well being and life of the plaintiff, her child and her other family members in danger of retaliation by other people . . ."
Though her lawsuit does not detail any alleged falsehoods, Holt also accused Coker and the Weekly of being negligent and sadistic because they published "falsehoods" that prompted commenters to leave "malicious and aggressive" responses attached to the reports.
In Dec. 2009, psychiatric doctors determined Holt was mentally capable of standing trial and prosecutors won nine felony convictions against her for writing bad checks, stealing a Mercedes Benz from a local dealership, and defrauding Orange County hotels, four comedians and Sprint.
Holt is serving an 80-month state prison sentence, but, according to her, it is Coker's articles about her crimes that publicly maligned her character and reputation.
Ironically, the Orange County Register's Martin Wisckol originally dug deep into Holt's campaign finances to uncover many of her shenanigans, but he has not been sued.
Holt, who is broke, wants taxpayers to pay the costs of her lawsuit, according to her filing.
She says she has suffered $25 million in damages and deserves $50 million in punitive damages.
"Raw indignation is a poor substitute for actual merit in defamation litigation," said Steve Suskin, legal counsel to this newspaper and its parent company, Voice Media Group, Inc. "This inmate's Complaint lacks any specificity regarding what she claims OC Weekly published that was false. The Weekly stands by the accuracy of its reports about Ms. Holt and expects the court will dismiss this case at it earliest opportunity."
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