Kiefer & Kiefer obtained a Temporary Restraining Order today in Civil District Court on behalf of Judge Christopher Bruno against his election opponent, Jennifer Medley. Jennifer Medley's campaign as well as against Voice of the People, LLC, a private company owned by Sidney Torres, who was running an ad under an unregistered PAC, "Voice PAC".
The ad featured a silhouette of “Jane Doe” who stated:
"I was raped 7 years ago, and finally after 7 years I got my day in court. Or so I thought. I had the misfortune of appearing before Judge Christopher Bruno and from the start, I could feel his bias against me. He called me a scorned woman and didn't find me credible. Being raped is something no woman should have to endure and Judge Christopher Bruno's treatment of me was just as bad."
There was much confusion in the public about why the case was before Judge Bruno at all, who is a Civil Judge, not a criminal judge. When reviewing the case itself, it appears that Jane Doe's charges were refused by criminal authorities so she sued her alleged rapist in civil court for money. After a trial, Jane Doe was found to have been incredible and it was found that she had not proven the assault. Judge Bruno issued a ten-page Judgment, which detailed the evidence. Multiple witnesses that were present during the alleged rape testified at the trial that they heard only consensual sex occurring. Further, the Plaintiff admitted under oath that she had accused another man of raping her to get back at him. He did not accuse her of being a "scorned woman"; rather, she made that statement herself from the witness stand. After a trial on the merits the Court awarded no money to the Plaintiff, Jane Doe.
On October 14, 2020, The Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee investigated this ad and found it to be false. The specifically stated there was "no evidence that Judge Bruno was biased"; that "Judge Bruno never called the Plaintiff a scorned woman" and that "Judge Bruno weighed all of the evidence in the trial of this matter and issued a ten-page reason for Judgment."
After the opinion, the Medley campaign orally agreed to stop running the ads since the Commission issued the opinion that they were false; however, they did not. The ads were still being publicized by Sidney Torres's PAC and Jane Doe herself, forcing Judge Bruno to file for another injunction.
On October 23, 2020, a restraining order was signed by a Baton Rouge judge appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court, Freddie Pitcher.
The lawsuit was filed by Kiefer & Kiefer partner, Megan Kiefer, who commented:
"Not just as an attorney, but as a woman, I am deeply offended that a female candidate would try to manipulate women in the City of New Orleans by using lies about sexual assault, an issue too many of us are too horribly familiar with. Unfortunately, this false ad reached many women who are now going to cast a vote at the polls informed by a lie that the candidate knew was a lie. Lying about a sexual assault - is that how deeply this candidate has devolved? Our judicial candidates should have more integrity than this. We should demand truth from our judicial candidates."
Read the filings and order here: